Sunday, November 14, 2010

Literacy, Legacy, and the Latino Community

Latino Heritage has been around fro 12 years. Those who have been aware of our work have thought of us as parade people. And we are. But we have also been about classes, lectures, and workshops that share something of the local Latino experience and history in places throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Our moderator was KPCC reporter Adolfo Guzmán López pictured here with our panelist Manuel Contreras. Both were wonderful throughout the evening which began with a mixer, panel session followed, and then there was time for book signings and informal conversations.
Pictured below are Randy Jurado Ertll, Victor Cass, Sandra Gutierrez, and me (r to l).

But the best part of the evening was having audience members, especially students, talking with the authors. Author Thelma Reyna is seen here in an informal exchange with a student. That interaction between generations is one of the ways of making sure that a legacy is developed among those of us who are a part of the Latino community.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Literacy, Legacy, and the Latino Community

Please join this groundbreaking gathering of authors who live and work in Pasadena.
We will also be acknowledging Manuel Piñeda and Elías Galván, authors who have written about Pasadena and about their lives.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dias de los muertos

Traditionally Días de lo muertos is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd; a time to remember those who have a been a part of our lives. It is a tradition that comes from the Maya and the Aztecs combined with 16th century Roman Catholic traditions. The dead are remembered, favorite items are shared; a toy for a child, whisky or coffee for an adult. A favorite picture of the departed.

This ofrenda was presented by the La Pintoresca library staff and includes traditional elements. The spirits return to partake of the spiritual portions, the living often enjoy the tangible portions. To help the spirits quench their thirst water is included. To help light the way candles are lit. To help guide the spirits, marigolds are placed in vases on the ofrenda and on the pathway that leads to the grave of the departed or home. Food or drink is shared. The nature of the ofrenda is set by the pocketbooks of the surviving.

The students, staff, and parents of St. Mark's Episcopal School made this altar. The pan de muerto, bread baked for this holiday, is visible. Pictures of saints and of the dead can be seen. The elements are traditional, the form can be a means of creative expression. Often skeletons or skulls are included reminding us that death is always close and that it need not be feared.

Also acknowledged is the Mexica (Aztec) tradition that there are three deaths.

The first death is when our bodies cease to function; when our hearts no longer beat of their own accord.

The second death comes when the body is lowered into the ground.

The third death, the most definitive death, is when we are lost from memory.

Nothing can be done about the first two deaths. The last death is delayed by remembering those who came before.