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Lives Lost and the Unseen Who Strengthen Our Nation

Hispanic Heritage Foundation


ON THE COLLAPSE OF BALTIMORE’S KEY BRIDGE, here are our thoughts: in addition to mourning the loss of life and sending our prayers and love to the families of the victims we lift this painful moment as a reminder that the Latino community is often behind the building and maintenance of our nation’s infrastructure and should be celebrated for their contributions and sacrifice.

While some extremists may want to use the Latino community as a political wedge that depicts all Latinos as a burden and criminal element, the tragedy reminds us all of the reality of our community’s role and daily sacrifice to keep our nation strong. These men worked in the 9pm to 3am window atop a perilously high bridge to ensure thousands of people are able to get to work each day. Often unseen and ignored, their contribution benefited thousands even as they were overlooked. This is how it often is everywhere around us.

We do not need to look far for other examples of how the Latino community has stepped up in times of urgency and national tragedy. There were count-less Latino and Latina workers who worked to rebuild the damaged areas of the Pentagon and the World Trade Center after 9/11. After Hurricane Katrina it was widely reported how many Latino workers showed up to rebuild the city of New Orleans and surrounding area. Time after time when our nation needs people who will show up for the heavy, often dangerous, and tireless infrastructure work across our cities and states it often draws from our Latino community and they deliver.

As we pray for the families who lost their loved ones, let us also take a moment to remind others of what these men represented. They embody the truth of the commitment and contributions of Latinos and immigrants to our nation. We must not allow a false narrative to keep poisoning the reality of the gratitude we should have for these men and women. They show up every day, often in the middle of the night, to make sure our buildings, roads, and bridges are as strong as we need so that we can do our jobs, and so our economy keeps moving and growing.

As we learn more over the coming days about this tragedy and the victims, let us also look around at others like them that continue to work around us, often as we are arriving to work or as we leave. To them we should give our thanks and respect in honor of those whose lives were lost.



Estuardo V. Rodriguez, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino

Marco Davis, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI)

Antonio Tijerino, Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Monica Ramirez, Justice for Migrant Women and The Latinx House


Abel Nunez, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)

Al Gallegos, National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives (NAHFE)

Amy Hinojosa, MANA: A Latina Organization

Ana Bridges, National Latinx Psychological Association (NLPA)

Ana Marie Argilagos, Hispanics in Philanthropy

Antonio Flores, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)

Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund

Brenda Castillo, National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)

Carmen Perez, The Gathering for Justice

Charlotte Castillo, Poderistas

CiCi Rojas, The Latino Coalition

Cid Wilson, Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility (HACR)

Damian Rivera, Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA)

Danny Vargas, American Latino Veterans Association

Diana Luna, National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP)

Diana Maria Riva, Latinas Acting Up

Domenika Lynch, The Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program

Dr. Juan Andrade, United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI)

Elena Rios, National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA)

Eneida Roman, Amplify Latinx

Felix Sanchez, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA)

Frankie Miranda, Hispanic Federation

Hector Sanchez, Mi Familia Vota

Ignacio Salazar, SER Jobs for Progress

Ivette Rodriguez, LA Collab

Janet Murguia, UnidosUS

John Villamil, ASPIRA

Juan Proaño, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

Kenneth Romero, National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL)

Lawrence Romo, American GI Forum

Lisa Vidal, Latinas Acting Up

Lourdes Rosado, LatinoJustice PRLDEF

Lupe M. Rodriguez, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice

Maria Teresa Kumar, Voto Latino

Mark Magaña, Green Latinos

Marla Bilonick, The National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders


Maylen Calienes, Latino Filmmakers Network

Oscar Chacon, Alianza Américas

Patti Tototzintle, Esperanza United

Ramiro Cavazos, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)

Ron Estrada, Farmworker Justice

Sarita Brown and Deborah Santiago, Excelencia in Education

Sonja Diaz, UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute

Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs

Yadira Sanchez, Poder Latinx

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