U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced today that she would hold a vigil to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the massive factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed 1,129 people.
The event, to feature speakers from several prominent labor unions – including the AFL-CIO; Alliance of South Asian American Labor (ASAAL); New York City Central Labor Council; Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1500 – will commemorate all who lost their lives in the tragedy, and highlight the need to improve the rights of workers.
The vigil is scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday, April 24th at the Taj Mahal Restaurant, 148-01 Hillside Avenue in Jamaica, New York.
The Rana Plaza factory collapse occurred near the capital city of Dhaka on April 24, 2013 due to deplorable working and safety conditions that exist at the garment plants in Bangladesh, many of which produce goods for major American retailers. The factory crumbled after cracks discovered in the eight-story building were not repaired. Garment workers were ordered into the building to work despite the safety concerns. Approximately 2,515 people were injured.
“A year after the deadly factory collapse, Bangladesh and the Bangladeshi-American community continue to reel from this horrible tragedy,” said Meng. “I encourage the public and all members of the Bengali community to join us to remember the victims who were killed, and to stand united for improved working conditions.”
The vigil is open free of charge to the public and press.
The event will also feature a poetry reading from Ramya Ramana, a college student from Queens who was named the 2014 New York City Youth Poet Laureate.
After the factory collapse, Meng, on April 29, 2013, urged major American retailers to improve conditions that exist at the facilities that make their products in Bangladesh. The Congresswoman sent letters to the chief executive officers of Wal-Mart, the Gap and the American Apparel Footwear Association, a major trade group, urging them to take leading roles to protect the subcontracted workers they use in Bangladesh’s clothing factories.
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