On Monday, Nov. 4 a “Dia de los Muertos ofrenda,” or a Day of the Dead altar, was constructed in the Center for Intercultural and International Education (CIIE) office to commemorate all students who have died in aspects of activism throughout the world.
Although traditionally in Mexican culture, “ofrendas” are made to represent a specific person, this “ofrenda” not only represents the many students who have died in activism, but also the 43 students who disappeared from a teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Mexico on Sept. 26.
Beginning as a “News Flash” assignment for the History of Mexico class, Marcia Good, adjunct professor of history, mentioned that constructing public “ofrendas” “to specific issues rather than to a specific person in your family who has passed on has really grown in the United States.”
Though the “ofrenda” was taken down the Wednesday after its construction, it is only the beginning of many more conversations about this issue on campus.
Students Alma Flores, a sophomore; Samantha Peña, a senior; Maddie Birky, a sophomore; Noemi Salvador, a sophomore; and Malcolm Stovall, a sophomore, have collaborated to put together an extra convocation opportunity on campus.
According to Stovall, the purpose of this convocation is to “support and continue the 43 students’ cause by actively holding institutions accountable on the basis of equal opportunity and responsibility for human standards when operating domestically and across the globe.”
In Mexico within the last 10 years “more than 85,000 people have died and more than 22,000 people have disappeared with no record of where they went,” Good said.
For this convocation, students plan on raising awareness about the 43 missing students in Ayotzinapa, but also to raise awareness within students on the power they have to advocate for change.
“As students, it is important not only to open ourselves up to different realities,” Stovall said, “but to also incorporate those struggles into our own movements so that we are able to effectively dismantle conquest over humanity.”
Good appreciates student pursuit of further conversation about this issue.
“Goshen College is a place where students care so much,” Good said. “They don’t come to Goshen if they just want a graduate degree for themselves. They come here because they’re passionate about making the world a better place.”
Students are invited to wear black on Thursday, Nov. 20 in order to commemorate the 43 students missing in Ayotzinapa. The extra convocation will take place Friday, Nov. 21 at 10 a.m. in the Church Chapel.