Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Uvalde Shooting Victims Remembered on Día de Los Muertos

The mother of Maite Rodriguez, a ten-year-old victim of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, tweeted on Halloween, “We should be choosing her Halloween costume together but instead I’m making her an ofrenda.” Maite was one of the 19 children killed in the shooting, and as part of Día de Los Muertos traditions, they are being honored by communities across Texas and around the country.

Día de Los Muertos is celebrated with colorful ofrendas that families and communities create to honor their deceased loved ones. Several cities around the country hold events and parades and build colorful altars. This year, the faces of the 19 children who died in Uvalde were at the top of altars throughout the country.

At San Antonio’s “Muertosfest” on Saturday, students from Lainer High School’s art club created 20 personalized desks — one honoring each of the 19 students who died and one for both educators.

In Chicago, the 36th annual Day of the Dead exhibition by the National Museum of Mexican Art pays tribute to the Uvalde victims by including an ofrenda installation created by Bernhard Moos Elementary School students.

“Because of just the amount of gun violence — we could do an entire exhibit only memorializing victims,” said Cesáreo Moreno, the director of visual arts and chief curator at NMMA. “It has become a more difficult exhibit to curate, and we have to be careful that we’re not normalizing mass shootings.”

In Houston, the nonprofit arts and culture group Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts (MECA) honored the 21 Uvalde victims, including murals with the children’s names.

Aside from the altars and the remembrances in Texas, several Latino organizations and Mexican American Legislative Caucus members are spending their Día de Los Muertos marching and making a case for gun control legislation. The Marcha de Los Niños will take place in several cities in a special tribute to the Uvalde victims.

“I think it serves as a very powerful reminder of what’s at stake,” said one of the organizers, Paul Saldaña, a co-founder of the Hispanic Advocates Business Leaders of Austin advocacy group.

NBC News