San Jose, CA 15 occt. 2020 – The School of Arts & Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza (SOAC) has been an anchor of the Mayfair and East San Jose community for two decades. As a cultural and community hub, they’ve been empowering community members by offering a place to gather and celebrate their culture and heritage. During one of the toughest years many have faced, the SOAC has pivoted to offer crucial support and services while continuing to honor long standing traditions, like Day of the Dead.
Day of the Dead is a Latin American holiday where the living commemorate their departed loved ones through altares and reunions, which include the sharing of food, drinks, stories, works of art, and beloved memories. Unfortunately, this Day of the Dead carries a much more somber tone than usual. The residents of East San Jose have been disportionately impacted by COVID-19, yet they are the backbone of Silicon Valley, they are the essential workers who in the face of significant tragedy keep this valley working. This year, the SOAC has an opportunity to honor their contributions through their Day of the Dead celebration.
In order to uphold traditions, while being mindful of the current state of affairs, the SOAC will host Avenida de Altares, a free drive-thru Day of the Dead event at the Mexican Heritage Plaza on Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31. Families and community members will drive through an impactfully lit outdoor gallery of Altars created by local artists. Calacas (skeletons) will be roaming the outdoor gallery while live music is playing, and goodie bags (w/ candy and art kits) will be distributed. Some lucky folks will also receive goodie bags with gift certificates to East San Jose restaurants!
Along with the altar gallery, community members will pass a beautiful makeshift graveyard where they can honor and pay respects to those who have passed on. Edgar Ochoa, Manager of the SOAC’s Community Engagement Program, shares his take on this holiday and its lead up to the November election:
This day of the dead is bittersweet, and is a time of reflection for all of us. Now is a time to think about changes to come and how our people’s actions will determine the future of our communities. Heading out to vote is not only a way to make our voice heard, but it is a way to pay homage to the many who have sacrificed so much, and who are no longer with us, in order for us to have this privilege.
On the same weekend of Avenida de Altares, the SOAC will be open as a voting center from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m on Friday, October 31 through Monday, November 2. On election day, November 3, the SOAC will be open for voting from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. “Now more than ever, it is crucial for our community to vote. There are major changes, which need to take place, so head to La Plaza to cast your vote and honor those who are no longer with us to cast theirs. ” said Egar Ochoa.
Avenida de Altares is the creation of Giant Creative Services, Kooltura Marketing, and the School of Arts & Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. These partners want to give our San Jose community members an opportunity to stay true to their Mexican heritage and traditions, while remaining safe during this global health crisis. This event is made possible through the support of AARP, Apple Materials, and the City of San Jose.
Location: School of Arts & Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza
1700 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose, CA 95116
Dates: Friday, October 30 from 6:00-10:00pm | Saturday, October 31 from 6:00-10:00pm
Facebook event link: https://fb.me/e/3wD4CwGUX