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Voices from Fruitvale's Día de los Muertos festival

Hannah Kingsley-Ma
Aztec dancers perform at the Día de los Muertos festival in Fruitvale "

This week brings with it Día de los Muertos.

Many took part in celebrating this past Sunday, at the 22nd annual Día de los Muertos Festival in Oakland's Fruitvale district. Thousands of people were in attendance, browsing the altars that were on display and watching performances from a local Aztec dance group.

We sent KALW’s Hannah Kingsley-Ma to talk to some of the altar makers to hear the story behind their creations.

Credit Hannah Kingsley-Ma / KALW News
Frank Cortes stands in front of the altar he created

"Waking up early, coming here, unloading ... it's a family thing ... It brings us together. Maybe we had an argument in the morning, but as soon as we start the altar, as soon as [my mom] sparks the copal, it's a new day." —Frank Cortes


Credit Hannah Kingsley-Ma / KALW News
An altar memorializing those who have passed in an attempt to cross the border, co-created by Piñatas las morenitas, Luís Baltazar, and Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik of Estamos contra el muro

"To me, this was really exciting to work on because we are Oakland — a piñata shop, an artist and a musician coming together and thinking differently about the ways immigration impacts us all." —Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik
Credit Hannah Kingsley-Ma / KALW News
Gonzalo Hidalgo working on his altar, which is dedicated to people affected by the termination of DACA


"The most important thing is that we are showing we have a cultural resistance. We are culturally showing — not by protesting, not by taking over buildings, but by participating in an event that brings about 60,000 people — that we are here, and we are present in this community, and we participate in what is Oakland." —Gonzalo Hidalgo

Hannah Kingsley-Ma is a reporter and producer living in San Francisco.