As Día de Muertos nears, Latino communities across the nation are creating altars to remember the 22 people who passed away during the El Paso shooting this summer.
From Texas to Chicago to Washington, DC, people are celebrating the lives of those who were fatally shot during the mass attack that took place at a Walmart in El Paso on August 3.
In Austin, Texas, the Mexic-Arte Museum has had an altar for the victims since Sept. 13. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the ofrenda includes photos, messages and symbolic objects that were brought by Central Texans. The altar will remain on display at the museum until November 24.
Hip Latina reports that other areas in the Lone Star State, including the Houston Community College, the University of Texas at El Paso’s C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department and several churches, are also hosting events and creating altars for the victims of the second-largest mass shooting against Latinos in U.S. history.
They’re not alone. In Washington, DC, the Mexican Cultural Institute is dedicating an altar to the 22 lives lost. The artistic center, which offers a glimpse of Mexico’s vibrant cultural past and present, is teaming up with DMV-based Mexican artist Enrique Quiroz to create an ofrenda that honors the victims as well as the lives of famous Mexican figures lost in 2019, including singer singer José José, artist Francisco Toledo and activist Miguel León Portilla. The altar inauguration, which takes place on Nov. 2, will also include music, dance, performances and food, like pan de muerto and hot chocolate.
That same day, Chicago artists and art lovers will also be participating in a similar event. The National Museum of Mexican Art, located in Harrison Park, is hosting a Día de los Muertos: Love Never Dies Ball. In addition to music, drinks and treats, there will also be an altar honoring the El Paso victims as well as those who have died or have been separated from their families while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Border Patrol.
The Día de Muertos events, which is celebrated among Latinos and Latin American communities all over the world between Oct 31 and Nov 2, will come just days before the Walmart where the shooting occurred is slated to reopen. The Cielo Vista-located store plans to open its doors again on November 14 at 9 a.m. local time with a permanent memorial. According to CNN, the site will feature 22 perforated aluminum arcs grouped into a single 30-foot monument “symbolizing unity and emanating light into the sky.”