On Monday, November 2nd, Sequoyah held a virtual Día de los Muertos event. The event was led by Spanish teacher Marisol Perez.
Perez shared that she did not grow up celebrating Día de los Muertos, but learned about it as an adult. On a trip to Mexico, she saw the altars that are a staple of Día de los Muertos, noting that some of the homes even had altars built into them. Altars are traditionally decorated with flowers, food for the dead, candles, and pictures. They also have floor mats for the dead to rest on. Perez explained that people from Mesoamerica believe in the duality of life, that you can acknowledge the beauty of loved one’s lives and also make room for their deaths.
After the introduction, there was a slideshow presentation of the ofrendas, the Spanish word for altars, that members of the Sequoyah community had created to honor their loved ones. The K-8, led by Spanish teacher Cristina Barvo, participated as well, sharing photos of their loved ones on Zoom. The Bamboo Forest class showed their sugar skull drawings.
Next, there were tributes to community members’ departed loved ones, accompanied by photos and descriptions of them. The slideshow concluded with a video of singer-songwriter Mia Doi Todd, Sequoyah parent to third grader Ynez Peterson, singing “Gracias a la Vida” (“Thanks to Life”), by Violeta Parra.
After the slideshow, second grader Nico Waronker showed the group his altar and a picture of musician George Harrison. Third grader Mia Nanda spoke about her grandfather. Perez shared her altar honoring her grandparents, her friends David and Craig, and another family member who had passed away the previous day. Kindergartener Noa Brody told us that her grandfather Bruce loved birds. Finally, faculty member Emily Singer talked to the gathering about her father.
After that, the group proceeded with a moment of silence. Community members were told to try to think of people who had passed away, including people that they had not met. Perez mentioned firefighters, medical workers, fighters for justice, and those who have died at the hand at police brutality.