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City of Worcester to Celebrate Dia de los Muertos with Daylong Events; Mural, Sculpture to be Unveiled

For Immediate Release: 10/29/2021 12:19 pm

Mayor Joseph M. Petty and City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. announce Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, to be celebrated Saturday, Oct. 30 with a series of events throughout the day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The events celebrate the Latin-American cultural tradition in which families remember and honor loved ones that have been lost. This year’s gathering will acknowledge the disparities faced by the Latino/a/e community during the COVID-19 pandemic, led by community leaders in collaboration with supporting organizations.

The celebration will feature various venders and service providers, and will include the unveiling of a mural, “Amor Hasta la Muerte,” by artist Victor “Marka27” Quinones; a mixed-media sculpture, “Recordando la Memoria,” by Ecuadorean Worcester-based artists Jose Criollo and German Chiriboga, and a community ofrenda where the public can donate.

The 8-foot-by-14-foot mural will be unveiled during a speaking ceremony at 11 a.m. at Mercantile Center. 100 Front St., where it will be on display until Monday, Nov. 1. The mural will then be transferred to City Hall, where it will be displayed for one year on the wall between the third-floor offices of Mayor Joseph M. Petty and City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr.

The sculpture will remain on display at the Jean McDonough Arts Center (JMAC), 20 Franklin St.

“So often art can convey complex emotions and ideas that are difficult to put into words,” said Mayor Joseph M. Petty. “Over the course of the pandemic, the effects were felt disproportionately by our minority and Latino community. I support anything that could help bring healing to this, or any other, hard hit community.”

“It is an honor for the City to help support this important tradition, while also bringing attention to the disparities faced by members of the Latino community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. said. “With this celebration, and the mural that will hang in City Hall over the next 12 months, we can honor the loved ones lost in the Latin-American community, and pledge our commitment to eliminate the barriers they and our communities of color too often face.”

"This Dia De Los Muertos we celebrate the lives of all those who passed away during the Pandemic," said Health Commissioner Dr. Matilde Castiel. "We remember our friends and family who we have lost. I remember my uncle, my staff, and all of those mourning their loved ones during this time. Together, as a community, we celebrate their memories."

Main IDEA Youth & Arts will host the youth and teen art activities for the event.

Joy Murrieta, Executive Director of Main IDEA Youth & Arts, said it was honor to work on the event and she is “grateful for the opportunity to celebrate this event citywide with the rest of the Latino/a/e community in Worcester. It is my hope that this event will foster and even deeper sense of connection and unity.”

Valeria Zolezzi-Wyndham, founder of Promoting Good, a diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging consulting firm, had a vision of honoring the Día de los Muertos tradition as a way to honor Latine culture and raise awareness of the tremendous loss of life and other hardships faced by Latino/a/es in Worcester during the pandemic. She brought her idea to a group of Latino/a/e leaders, including Germán Chiriboga, Raquel Castro, Joy Murrieta, Gina Plata-Nino, Hilda Ramirez and Mayra Rojas.

“The Latino Steering Committee is grateful for the City Manager's support of our cultural celebration, Día de los Muertos, which we have organized with pride in our cultural tradition of remembrance and in recognition of the Latino community that faced significant disparities during the pandemic,” she said.

"The impact that Covid-19 has had in the Latinx/e community will impact our youth for generations to come,” said Raquel Castro-Corazzini, the Director of the City of Worcester’s Division of Youth Opportunities. "The Dia De Los Muertos Celebration to me, is an opportunity to tell the story of what happened so our future generations can remember and not repeat history."

That sentiment was echoed by Steering Committee member Gina Plata-Nino, who said her goal is to “raise awareness of the loss our community suffered. That the number of people affected were part of us and someone's mother, father, son, daughter … That as we move forward we learn and strive for system changes to tackle disparities that affect communities of color.”

Please see attached flyer in English and Spanish for events and more information.

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