Day of the Dead

Altar de Muertos Honors Local COVID-19 Victims

Among the nearly 900 San Diegans who have died of COVID-19 so far, many of them are Latino and Black

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Treasure Felder said she grew up with friends celebrating the Day of the Dead but never expected she would take part in it herself.

“I wish that she could be here to celebrate other people as opposed to me having to celebrate without her,” said Felder.

Felder's mother, Ronda, passed away to COVID-19 in August.

“[It’s] Something that you never really prepare for," said Felder.

Ronda was 60 years old, with no underlying conditions. Her daughter said she had recently returned to work as a social worker for the County of San Diego.

“At the end of June, when she did her lasts set of visits is when she started to feel sick,” said Felder. “On July Fourth, I called the ambulance. I had her go to the hospital because I noticed her breathing was abnormal and that was the last day I saw my mom. She passed away on Aug. 3.”

On Sunday, along with others who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus, Felder took part in a special day of the dead ceremony. 

“We wanted to come together as a community to really honor every one of these lives,” said Fourth District Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. “Mothers, fathers, every one of these lives would've been here if not for COVID.”

San Diegans who lost a family member or friend to the coronavirus were invited to submit the name of their loved one along with a picture to Fletcher's office to be included on the COVID-19 Altar de Muertos. 

“I knew this is what my mom would want," said Felder.

Over 50 families submitted photos many of whom were celebrating the holiday for the first time like Felder. 

“My mom was everything to me,” said Felder. “It is very hard for me to have to see her picture as someone who we’re remembering and not someone who is physically here with us.”

The altar will stand near the east entrence of the county administration through monday. 

Day of the Dead or “Dia de los Muertos” is the annual Mexican tradition to help remember the lives of  departed loved ones with colorful altars and offerings. It is typically celebrated Nov. 1 to 2.

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