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Day of the Dead Altar for Essential Workers Killed by Covid

A local labor union in Los Angeles has created a special Día de los Muertos altar to honor essential workers killed by Covid-19. They wanted to create a public display to remember loved ones who died while helping the rest of the community survive the pandemic. Members of the union decorated it with flowers, pictures, and mementos of colleagues and loved ones.

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Among the 220,000 Americans who have died of COVID-19 so far, many of them are essential workers, interacting with the public in front-line roles from health care to food service. Today, one local labor union revealed a large, public Day of the Dead altar honoring those workers who have fallen ill and died helping the rest of us survive the pandemic.

The altar, created by UFCW Local 770, is believed to be the largest honoring those who have been exposed to COVID-19 on the job in Los Angeles. Members of the union, which represents thousands of local workers, decorated it with flowers, photos, and mementos of colleagues and loved ones. After today’s public ceremony, the altar will remain on public display through November 6 at 630 Shatto Place in Koreatown.

Accompanying the altar, which honors all essential workers, is a special display of 1,308 face masks, hung to symbolize the Local 770’s own members and family members of members who have died of or been infected with COVID-19 since March.

“As we honor their fight, our fight for safer working conditions continues, and we urge companies to take the necessary precautions to prevent further spread of this awful illness,” said Jackie Mayoral, a Ralphs employee who contracted COVID-19 at work, in remarks at the event revealing the altar.