October 27, 2006

Remembering the deaths at the border

By Pablo Jaime Sainz

A Día de los Muertos celebration will remember and pay tribute to the more than 4,000 people who have died trying to cross the border since Operation Gatekeeper was implemented in 1994.

Organized by Border Angels, a group of immigrants rights defenders, the vigil prayer will be on Saturday, Oct. 28, at noon at Border Field State Park on the U.S. side and near the faro in Playas de Tijuana on the Mexican side.

During the event, Enrique Morones, president and founder of Border Angels, will read dozens of names of people who have died trying to cross into the U.S.

“In addition of remembering the dead at the border, it’s important to remind people that immigrants keep dying on a daily basis,” Morones said.

The activist said that during the vigil they will put several crosses to commemorate immigrants. He invited the public to bring their own crosses.

Other groups that will participate are day laborers defenders and the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice.

Heriberto Garcia, from the Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos in Tijuana, will head the vigil on the Mexican side.

Garcia said that although the numbers sometimes can seem very cold, they’re a reality.

Since Gatekeeper, more than 4,000 people have died.

And when the new border walls are built, the number of deaths will only increase because immigrants will look for alternative routes –which will be more dangerous, Morones said.

In order to help reduce the deaths during the winter, Morones said that Border Angels will install emergency stations in the Imperial Valley and in the mountains for those immigrants that might need water, blankets and jackets.

The vigil will be at noon at Border State Park. To get there, take Interstate 5 and exit on Dairy Mart Road and continue west until it ends. More information: (619) 269-7865.

Another Día de los Muertos event in San Diego will be organized by the Women’s History Museum and Educational Center and it will be to mourn and remember those women who died this year and who helped women in their struggles for more rights.

The 3rd. Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration will be at the museum on Sunday, Oct. 29, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Gracia Molina de Pick, one of the museum’s board members, said that it’s important to pay tribute and remember women who have died and that have done a lot for women’s rights. It will encourage young women to learn about women’s struggles.

Girls from the Hermanitas program, sponsored by Mana de San Diego, a national Latina organization, will read their poetry and will help to make the altars.

“It’s important for these young women to learn about Mexican traditions at the same time that they learn about the struggle of women for their rights,” Molina de Pick said. “It’s important for them to be inspired.”

The celebration will include tamales and champurrado, live music, and readings of calaveras, funny poems dedicated to the dead. The museum invites damilies to bring an object that reminds them of their loved ones.

Some of the women that will be remembered in the event are Chicana muralist Carlota Hernández, former Texas gobernor Ann Richardson, and Coretta King and Rosa Parks, leaders of the civil rights movement.

The event is free.

The Women’s History Museum and Educational Center is located at 2323 Broadway, Ste. 107, in Golden Hill, in San Diego. Information: 619-233-7963.

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