Communities Honor El Paso Victims during Día De Los Muertos
Earlier this year, the nation experienced a painful tragedy in the El Paso shooting that struck a personal cord with the Latinx community. Many looked to Día de los Muertos this weekend to honor and remember the victims that passed away in the horrific massacre.
Students at University of Texas, El Paso built altars, or ofrendas, to commemorate the 22 people who lost their lives during the shootout at Walmart. Majority of the victims were of Mexican or Mexican American heritage. The ofrendas consist of candles, flowers, sugar skulls, as well as photos of the victims and newspaper clippings that covered the El Paso shooting.
Día de los Muertos, which originated from ancient Aztec traditions, is not an occasion for mourning, but rather for celebrating the life and legacy of loved ones who have passed away.
Carlos Tortolero, who serves as the founder of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, tells NBC Latino that the Mexican holiday is more spiritual and cathartic for those remembering their lost ones.
“Día de los Muertos is a life-affirming holiday and an opportunity to stress the importance of life,” he says. “It’s nothing like Halloween, which is fun and scary… We’re all going to die so we should embrace life and people.”
Cesareo Moreno, Tortolero’s colleague at the museum, also adds, “The El Paso shooting hit close to home, so this is a chance for us to cope with loss and to present our stories.”