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The Dead Live On

Los Muertos Viven event gets students involved in honoring ancestors.

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The Dead Live On

Michael Griego

Michael Griego

Michael Griego


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Thursday, Nov. 1, California State University Los Angeles, celebrated Dia De Los Muertos by throwing “Los Muertos Viven”, an event hosted by the Cross-Cultural Center, at the Student Union Plaza.

The multi-cultural event, which honored past family members and friends, offered several activities such as face painting and skull decorating. Students and faculty were able to walk around and view the different memorial alters student organizations had set up, which were being judge in a “best of” contest.

The event, began with a trio of Aztec dancers, dressed from head to toe in colorful feathers, blessing the crowd through several Dia De Los Muertos theme dances, with each routine having its own meaning, like The Fire Dance which reflected on how precious life is.

“The Fire Dance, is something we do, to connect ourselves and to remind ourselves, that this is a passing life, and we have to find life precious, because in an instant we can lose it,” explains Lupe Tellez, an Aztec Dancer.

After the performance, several student organizations were able to bring awareness to social issues by exhibiting their creativity through the alters they decorated which were adorned with flowers and papel picado. The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Department (WGSS) brought light to the mass incarceration problem in Los Angeles by honoring the people who lost their lives behind bars using a makeshift prison bed.

“We’re an organization working towards making sure the 3.5 billion (dollars) that LA wants to put in to prisons, goes into the community instead. So, we decided to make an alter out of a jail bed… to honor the lives that lost while they’re incarcerated,” explains Stephanie Ventura, a WGSS Graduate student.

The contest winner, Child Development Association took home $300 for their organization and brought social awareness for suicide prevention and anti-bullying by displaying different victims throughout their vibrant alter, surrounded by orange flowers.

“These images on the altar, are children who have died by suicide within the last year, the youngest one was nine years old… And as people who are working with children, we are the front line for them to be able to actually see when something is happening, and we have to advocate for them, so they don’t feel they are alone,” says Rose Villalta, Secretary of The Child Development Association.

Dia De Los Muertos, which begins on Oct. 13th and ends on Nov. 2 of every year, is a Mexican holiday that brings family and friends together to pray for a safe spiritual journey for their members who have passed on.


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