A way to remember lost loved ones

November 2, 2022

Alpha Psi Lambda Latino fraternity created a Día de los Muertos ofrenda in the University Center’s Wolverine Commons. It will be up through Nov. 8 for people to add framed photos of family and friends.

Photo of Alpha Psi Lambda members creating an ofrenda
Alpha Psi Lambda members Ivett Facundo, right, and Brianna Bryant set off an ofrenda in the University Center. Photo by Sarah Tuxbury

Death and loss is universal. So a student organization invites people across campus to share photos of their loved ones in an act of remembrance.

Dia de los Muertos — Day of the Dead — is a holiday that focuses on celebrating deceased loved ones through sharing their favorite foods, displaying items that remind you of the person and storytelling. The celebration is widely observed in Mexico on Nov. 1 and 2.

On Tuesday, Alpha Psi Lambda Latino co-ed fraternity created a Día de los Muertos ofrenda in the University Center’s Wolverine Commons. It will be up through Nov. 8 for people to add framed photos of family and friends. There’s also a digital photo frame — if you want to share an image to include on it, click here.

“No matter your identity, it’s important to celebrate loved ones and remember them. Everyone remembers someone they lost,” said Alpha Psi Lambda President Ivett Facundo, a senior studying anthropology. “We wanted to set up a beautiful space for people to share that loss and celebrate that person.”

Facundo brought three photos to share, ones that are often on her mother’s home ofrenda. In one, she’s a young girl with her grandparents in their rural Mexican town. “I have this photo and remember talking with my great grandfather on the phone. He was really nice. But I don’t have many memories other than what’s been shared with me. That’s why it’s important to talk about people who have died — so future generations can get to know them too.”

There’s also an ofrenda on Mardigian Library’s second floor. But that one is a little different, said Alpha Psi Lambda member Brianna Bryant, a human-centered design engineering major. It commemorates people who’ve fought — and often died — for social justice causes.

“These people were more than the incident that made them a recognizable name. It’s important to remember that. We include joyful images of these advocates, poems and inspirational stories,” Bryant said.

The Center for Social Justice and Inclusion worked on this campus project with the students. The center’s Intercultural & Intersectional Identities Program Manager Jerrard Wheeler said if students want to share their heritage with campus in an interactive way, the center is happy to support them.

“The many cultures and identities make UM-Dearborn a truly amazing place — and students are open to sharing these aspects of themselves,” he said. “They want to learn from us, and want us to learn from them.”

Article by Sarah Tuxbury.