Day Of The Dead Honors Murdered Women

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Nov 2, 2020

Dressed in floral crowns, face paint, and brightly patterned woven shawls, two dozen immigrant rights activists marched through the streets of Fair Haven to remember Lizzbeth Alemán-Popoca and other local missing and murdered women. (Thomas Breen, NHI)

That parade-turned-protest took place Monday night in celebration of the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.

The event was organized by the Semilla Collective, and saw marchers bundled up in the late fall cold walk from Quinnipiac River Park on Front Street to Chapel Street, Ferry Street, Grand Avenue, and Blatchley Avenue, before winding their way in the dark back over to the parade’s riverfront starting spot.
The parade’s participants walked in the middle of the street—often taking up both lanes of traffic—behind a flat-bed pickup truck decorated with a sunflower-strewn altar to Alemán-Popoca.

A 27-year-old Mexican immigrant, young mother, and East Haven resident, Alemán-Popoca was found dead in mid-July by a dumpster outside of a Branford restaurant. A medical examiner subsequently determined that she died as a result of “‘homicidal asphyxia.”

Yaneth Alemán, 24, who lives in New Haven and who immigrated to the United States with her older sister Lizzbeth over a decade ago, said that she turned out to Monday’s parade to keep the public’s eye focused on Alemán-Popoca’s still-unsolved murder.

“After four months, she still hasn’t received justice,” Alemán said. “To have someone so close .. it’s not easy to deal with.”

She said that the Day of the Dead is traditionally a time to remember, mourn, and celebrate the lives of those who have recently passed away. Though only three years her junior, Alemán said that she looked up to her older sister as if she was her mother.

“She took care of me,” she said.

Ben Haldeman, who joined Alemán in carrying a cloth banner decorated with sunflowers and a picture of Alemán-Popoca, said he showed up to Monday’s parade because “people do not treat violence against women with the gravity it deserves, particularly when those affected are not white.”
Semilla Collective organizer Vanesa Suarez, who led the march, said that that theme—of taking seriously the lives and deaths of women who have been disappeared, murdered, and then forgotten—was the driving force behind the Day of the Dead event.

“We’re going to honor our sisters because while the rest of the world is very quick to forget them and erase them, we will not.”

[Read the whole article at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/semilla_day_of_the_dead/]

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