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Mexico’s Day of the Dead and a chapter of American history we cannot ignore

This week as the warm aroma of marigolds fills the air and candlelit shrines illuminate the faces of those gone, we remember. 

On November 1 and 2, I will stand before a shrine reminiscent of the film “Coco,” dedicated to my beloved grandmother who tragically succumbed to COVID, Cecilia Romo, who played on the basketball national team of Mexico and became a renowned actress later in her life. 

Just as I cherish my abuelita’s memory, I urge us all to remember a chapter in American history that remains overlooked.

Efforts to recognize past wrongs emerged in 2004. Though California Senate Bill 427, aimed at reparations, was vetoed by then-Gov. Schwarzenegger, he did sign SB 670, which offered an apology for the repatriation mistreatment.

The Day of the Dead is not just about remembrance but also about learning. As I honor my grandmother this week, let’s pledge to remember those torn from their American dream and work towards ensuring history doesn’t repeat its painful episodes. As I have discovered, learning about our past predicts our future

Tamara Gisiger is a high school senior in New York City. 

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