Chicano Studies Department to host annual Dia de los Muertos Festival

By Marcus Camacho

A taste of Latin culture comes to East Los Angeles College with the annual Dia de Los Muertos Festival on Nov. 3 starting at 10 a.m.

The Chicano Studies Department will host the event at the S2 Art Complex courtyard.

The event will include a toy drive where people can donate a new, unwrapped toy to the Wish Upon an Angel Foundation booth.

The toy drive is for the non-profit organization founded by Chicano Studies Professor Angelita Rovero-Herrera.

Rovero-Herrera started the foundation in honor of 5-year-old Mario Molina, who died of leukemia, and 15-year-old Kyle Rodas, who died from brain cancer.

The toy drive is for children diagnosed with cancer and Rovero-Herrera will donate the gifts in their names to local hospitals.

The event was popular last year, bringing in nearly 800 people. Rovero-Herrera said she is hoping to double the number of people who attended last year.

The event will feature musical and dance performances from groups such as Grupo Cuauhtli, Conjunto Los Pochos, Domingo Siete, Viento Callejero, Quintol Sol and Circulo Ajolote.

There will be more than 40 booths including face painters, artists, Day of the Dead art, jewelry, handbags and clothing.

The festival, which is in its third year, means a lot to Rovero-Herrera.

The tradition of the event was passed on to Herrera by retired professor and chair of the Chicana/Chicano Studies Department Sybil Venegas.

“Being that a I’m part time instructor in the Chicano Studies Department, Dia de los Muertos is my absolute favorite holiday and once I took over the Dia De Los Muertos Altar Exhibit three years ago, I thought big. I thought a festival would coincide just great,” Rovero-Herrera.

Herrera said that without the Associated Student Union (ASU), the event might not have been possible and that she appreciated what they did for the event.

“ASU is the sponsor and pays for the entire event. Dean Sonia Lopez and Magaly Rojas have been my saviors. Each year, I am growing this event,” Rovero-Herrera said.

“They are the most supportive and amazing organization I have had the pleasure to work with.”

The altar exhibit will open with a reception on Saturday at 11 a.m. and run through Nov. 19.

The Chicano Studies 7 and Chicano Studies 54 students have constructed 11 altars for the exhibit which focus on various elements of Chicano culture and history.

The altars will pay homage to indigenous ancestors, the Virgen de Guadalupe/Tonantzin, farmworkers, Cesar Chavez, casualties of the Zoot Suit Riots and Mexican singers.

Other ELAC clubs will be selling food and using this event as a fundraiser to help promote their clubs.

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