El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a holiday celebrated November 1st through the 2nd, focuses on bringing family and friends together to pray for those who are no longer with us.
LUPE observes this holiday every year by constructing an Altar to remember those that died for justice and gave us the opportunity to continue the struggle. Every year we remember the martyrs and organizers that started the Farm Worker’s movement and dedicated their lives to creating a more just society for all. One such man, Juan de la Cruz, was 60 years old when he was shot to death on a Kern County, California vineyard picketline in 1973 as he spoke out against unjust wages and conditions for farm workers. The farm worker pension plan is named after him and provides more than 10,000 laborers with cost-of-living increases and bonuses.
We also remember those that believed in our work and supported us advancing the cause for social change. Bishop John Medeiros donated 10 acres of land so that LUPE could have an office in San Juan and be able provide services for members while organizing in the nearby colonias. Today, LUPE expresses its deep sadness over the loss of Sister Gerri Naughton who, along with a group of women from local Colonias, founded ARISE – A Resource in Serving Equality. For more on her inspiring work, click here.
On this day, we also remember the thousands of migrants who have died crossing the border due to unjust and unaccountable U.S. border policy. The candles will be lit in every LUPE office today to remember those who planted the seeds of revolution and those who remind us the beauty in dedicating one’s life to working for peace and justice.