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Leading Voices Continue to Highlight Contributions and Legacy of Fallen Bridge Workers

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Washington, DC — With President Biden reportedly set to visit the Key Bridge this week, the story of the workers who lost their lives will be front and center for the world to see. As we discussed last week, this tragedy is an opportunity to redefine the immigration conversation. The men who lost their lives in the collapse were migrant workers doing a dangerous job to literally build America. Since the accident, many leading voices have continued to pay tribute to these men and emphasize the sacrifices many migrants undertake to pursue the American dream and build a stronger America for all of us. 

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“Despite the horrific nature of the tragedy in Baltimore, it is inspiring to see so many diverse voices join together to mourn and honor the lives lost. At a moment when immigrants are so often wrongly depicted as threats and even some seek to politicize this tragedy, we need to remember that immigrants helped build this country and often undertake dangerous and undesirable jobs to make a better life for themselves and all of us.”

Those honoring the lives lost in the tragedy include Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) leaders and CASA members, leaders, and allies who took part in a press conference last Friday:

  • Representative Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC): “As we learn more about the lives of these 6 men from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus mourns alongside their families because of this tragic loss. Anyone of these men could have been one of our family members – a primo, a tio, or an hermano. They came to work that night as proud immigrants to help build this country and perform dangerous and demanding jobs that others declined. Their sacrifice should remind all of us that immigrants to this country should be celebrated, not criminalized; honored for their contributions, and not demonized for doing nothing more than seek better lives for themselves and their families in this country.”
    • CASA members and various local elected officials, laborers, and activist groups, including:
    • Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA: “In a nation where immigrants are frequently subject to demonization, we are reminded once again of their immense contributions. Together with our U.S.-born brothers and sisters, we build this nation.
    • CASA Member Victoriano Almendares: “As an essential worker, I share my story knowing that many people in Maryland and across the country can relate to my fallen colleagues and their families. One day we may be here, and the next we may not—that’s the risk of being a construction worker, sacrificing for our families.”
    • MD Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, (District 21): “With time, we will find a way to honor your loved ones, because immigrants are the backbone of this country. We are the people who build bridges, take care of our roads, and maintain every system in society.”
    • Evelio Webster, an immigrant worker: “For three years, I have worked hard in remodeling, supporting my family despite the dangerous nature of this industry. From my labor and that of so many immigrants, the economy of this country flourishes. But why don’t our dreams grow with it? Our dignity as humans, our well-being? Why is it that when tragedies happen we are the ones who fall into darkness suffering?”