Advocates mark unofficial Workers Memorial Day with calls for relief for families of immigrant workers who died from COVID

Wednesday marked a somber reminder of the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on essential workers, including migrant farm workers.

April 28 is the unofficial Memorial Day for immigrant workers. The National Day Laborer Organizing Network placed hundreds of crosses in the main lawn at Villa park in Pasadena, each one with the name of an immigrant worker who passed away from COVID.

Pablo Alvarado is with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

"Every year on April 28th, that's what governments and employers should be doing. Remembering those workers who died at the work place," Alvarado said.

Local organizations collect, distribute donated essential items, PPE to farmworkers in Oxnard

Organizers of Pasadena' memorial and festival celebrated immigrant workers, saying many of them are regarded as essential workers. From farm workers to day laborers, many have succumbed to COVID-19.

Immigrant labor groups are asking the government to recognize these essential workers as a group that needs help when an essential workers dies.

Among the things the National Day Laborer Organizing Network is asking for is legal immigrant status or a path to citizenship, as well as financial help.

Bernardo Osorio is an immigrant worker.

"The organization that we have is helping us a lot economically in support of any case that we need. So thanks to the people who donate money or donate food or everything that can help the needy," he said.

According to some studies, deaths of California farm workers have increased by more than 35% because of COVID-19.

"The reason why people have vegetables on their tables at every dinner, meat, chicken is because people were risking their lives, and they perished, they died and their families were left behind. At the very least, the families should receive some kind of relief," Alvarado said.

Six hundred crosses were placed in Villa Park Wednesday. Organizers say unfortunately, next year, there will definitely be more that they will need to place there.

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