Truth

In response to an article a friend sent me this past August, 2016, where someone was trying to say they were the Founder of Milwaukee’s Dia de los Muertos Parade, I wrote this response on August 13th, 2016. As I was the only person who paid and signed ALL permits needed to do this project(up until this year, 7 years later….), I was taken aback by someone trying to claim they were a co-founder, when in fact there was a co-founder, only it was a completely different person who in fact never signed any permit let alone pay for them. This was my response:

What goes into being the founder of Día de los Muertos Parade Project MKE…….I wasnt always the founder, I was the co-founder along side my mentor who introduced me to the traditions of El Día de los Muertos when I was maybe 7 years old at the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Family Sundays. WE planned the first 2 meetings, we decided what we wanted this to be. Before the first parade even began, we had parted ways due to differences in politics and agendas. I took over the title of Founder when I signed every single permit, when I paid for the materials out of my little cashiering job, when I had to clean up our art spaces all by myself, then I had to share the burden alone of doing this alone. But that is not the entire truth. The truth is Anna Maria Contreras, Diego Heredia, Zakariyah Gross, Walker’s Point Center for the Arts and countless others who stepped up and volunteered their time (For 7 years now), who committed to seeing this project succeed, even when I couldnt see it happening, these people believed in THIS. These people were there for every argument, every tear, every LAUGH, Every JOY, every Success. This conclusion is that I am not the sole founder of this project, Walker’s Point Center for the Arts was the only art organization who has helped us since the beginning(Currently we have several who have helped us in countless ways), with the support of MONEY, INSURANCE, FISCAL SPONSOR, SPACE TO BUILD A PARADE, space to hold fundraisers and the space where we had our very very first meeting where Sylvia, Diego and I brainstormed on how we were going to do this. Since then, this project has transformed into a Festival, with the incredible President of the Walker’s Point Association taking charge of the permits this year!!!!! and for adding the 5K Run/Walk to this project, to giving enthusiastic support and love for this project, and we even have the President of the Walker Square Neighborhood Association helping us plan and make this festival better than ever. Walker’s Point Center for the Arts Executive Director is also at every single meetings, giving us support, pointers, advice and most of all letting us into their space to create the art of this festival! But do not let me forget the incredible Milwaukee Public Theatre and ALL they have done for this project as well as given to it. With the close mentoring of MPT Founder, she has supported me threw the thick and the thin. Advising me and always showing me love. Other support came from art organization or organizations such as Latinas En Accion, RedLine, ACLU, Public Allies, YES!, Voces de la Frontera, Serve2Unite, Alice’s Garden, Arts@Large, Moon Dance Sisters, Aztec Dancers, Ballet Folklorico Hermanos de Avila, Escamilla Entertainment, Viva La Piñatas, StitchMKE, Milwaukee Mijas, Kohl’s ColorWheel, MAM, Latino Arts, Latino Carnival, Black Lives Matter, Coalition for Justice, ALL PEOPLES CHURCH, Samba Unit, Tamarind Belly Dancers, UW- Madison’s History department, UW- Milwaukee’ Art students, Latino Arts Strings, Bruce Guadalupe’s Art teacher & students, and soooooooo many many many more……and not to mention the ceremony I attend every summer where I asked Elders for the Permission to even do this project here in Milwaukee. And not to mention the spiritual journey I took to Mexico when I was 20 years old where I learned first hand the deepest traditions of this sacred ancient celebration of Life and the honoring of Death. and not to mention what lead me there in the first place, Thailand. Who taught me first about Death. After my host Sister P’Oui passed away on the 15th of February 2002. When I came home with PTSD and knew in my heart I needed to travel to the motherland/Mexico and find my healing find my roots. This is what has inspired me to want to even be part of a project like this one. Which IS and will and COULD never be my own. The truth is, I just wanted the healing I so desperately needed after experiencing death first hand. . . How could I be the only one seeking this sort of healing or understanding of death. And Now we have been invited to be part of Mexican Fiesta’s Día de Muertos Parade on Friday, August 26th at Summer Fest Grounds. We will be able to learn and grow with each other as we learn and gain the support from professional parade artists from Jalisco! Everyone has their own story of this project, everyone has their own part of this project. This is my truth. This is the way I saw it when I wrote this. #StandingInMyTruth #TheTruth #artHeals #WeCanNEVERdoANYthingALONE #NotAlone

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