Students, faculty share stories of loved ones around Dia De Los Muertos altar


Kathleen Quinn

Alicia Cortez, Division Dean of Equity and Engagement talks about her father’s love of his hat as she celebrates his life with students.

Kathleen Quinn, Staff Reporter

Students and faculty members shared stories of their deceased loved ones and placed photos on an altar adorned with candles, keepsakes and flowers at the Arrival of our Ancestors event on Oct. 22 in the Office of Equity.

The event resembled ceremonies that occur as part of the Mexican tradition “Día de Los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead” which begins on the evening of Oct. 31 and ends on Nov. 2. The practice is a mixture of Aztec and Christian traditions meant to celebrate the lives of those who have passed away and also aid in their spiritual journey.

The event helped to commemorate students’ and faculty members’ loved ones, as they went around the room and shared personal stories.
Melody Summer Williams, 17, undeclared, participated in the event to honor her aunt Georgia, who had passed away the week prior.

“She is really important to me,” she said.

Some students, listening to others’ memories, as well as sharing their own, teared up, as participants recounted the impact of the loved one in their life.

“It got very emotional,” Williams said.

Kathleen Quinn
Students share moving stories of their loved ones who have passed away in preparation for Día de los Muertos at the ‘Arrival of Our Ancestors’ event held in the Media Learning Center.

Jean Cortés, 19, film major, said “if we create this culture of honoring them, we will be honored as well.”

I like to go to little get-togethers or potlucks like this because I get to hear some people’s stories,” said Vincente Alcala, 18, engineering major.

Though the office is a small,, the event was well attended. Many students took turns talking about the impact their loved ones had made on their lives.

“I came here on a whim, but I think that was sort of serendipitous,” said Cortés.

Some students hung back as the event wound down to talk more about their experiences and learn more about each other.