The Cross Cultural Center hosted an event for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on Friday, Oct. 26. Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that honors and celebrates deceased loved ones. The event took place in the DeNaples Center from 10 p.m. to midnight.
This year the Cross Cultural Center joined together with students who went on a service trip to the Kino Border Initiative. One of these students, Megan Steinmetz ’19 was greatly affected by the trip.
“The Kino Border Initiative, located in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico, graciously hosts dozens of student groups from various high schools and universities each year,” Steinmetz said. “My International Service Program trip in May 2017 involved trips to a Border Patrol Agency, meetings with ranchers living on the border, meals with migrants at the Comedor (a welcoming place just across the border in Nogales for migrants traveling either way, no questions asked), sitting in on a deportation hearing with Operation Streamline, a visit to a women’s shelter, a walk through the desert, and much more.”
The trip was a great experience, she said.
“Through meaningful conversation with people from KBI as well as many migrants themselves, we were able to hear personal stories which truly put the issues into context. I would argue that there is no better way to understand the issues surrounding migration than to immerse oneself in an experience such as this,” Steinmetz said.
Students who went on the trip were invited to join in the Dia de los Muertos celebration to honor migrants who have died. At a table sit during the day, students were offered small black water bottles, much like those seen on desert hikes, with information about migration. Included were names of people who had passed away in the desert. This was a way to honor them through thoughts and prayers.
“It is so important that we honor migrants in various ways such as the Day of the Dead event because in doing so, we humanize them,” Steinmetz said. “I think it is so much easier to become complacent about problems that affect the lives of others each and every day if we know nothing about them. By sharing their names and stories, we hope to give our Scranton community a sense of connection to migrants and displaced persons throughout the world, many of whom have died seeking freedom, safety, and a prosperous life.”