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Sat, Oct 30, 2021

Honrando Mis Ancestros y Comunidad

Since 2015, the MAH has had the honor of creating a Día de los Muertos with the wisdom and guidance of Senderos founders and sisters Maestra Fe Silva Robles and Dr. Nereida Robles Vasquez. MAH staff member Stacey Marie Garcia invited them to have an honest conversation and develop a genuine partnership. The sisters shared stories of Día de los Muertos in Oaxaca - the music, processions, altares - and how everyone in the community comes together to honor the lives of the dead. The MAH was seeking to create an authentic celebration to bring people together. Senderos was seeking a safe place to gather and celebrate their traditions. We were inspired, moved, and committed to be that safe place.

Every year Día de los Muertos looks a little different. We learn new things, we invite more folks, we let go of others. We never know what new challenges the world will bring us - rain, partial permits, aggressive drivers, a pandemic. What we do know is every year, we still celebrate. Regardless of the challenge, people come together to protect our community as they celebrate their ancestral tradition.

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This year I and local filmmaker Megan Martinez Goltz had the privilege to gather the stories of Senderos members Maestra Fe, Dr. Nereida, Kristin Silva, and Raul Gonzalez. The four openly talked about what it means to celebrate Día de los Muertos here in Santa Cruz, their home away from home. It means hope for the return of a loved one they miss dearly and hope for their mourning to heal. To celebrate is to learn about death, grief, and life. Día de los Muertos is a time when youth learn about their roots as they ground them in these new lands. In doing so, they build a future for this tradition to continue to grow.

Día de los Muertos is a tradition that brings people together to heal and honor their ancestors. What I learned from these conversations with Senderos, is that to support this healing, is honoring our community. And that’s worth living for.

I hope you can join us for this year’s Día de los Muertos Saturday, 30 October 12-4pm at Evergreen Cemetery. It will be a day with music, dance, altares, and community. Until then, hear about Día de los Muertos from Senderos in this short film Honrando Mis Ancestros y Comunidad. You can also participate in community gatherings by Santa Cruz Ofrenda.