Community and Celebration at Dia De Los Muertos Event

As the Extension consistently aims to break down barriers in education, we understand and acknowledge that building community is a vital part of the process. Community spaces offer up vibrant potential, allowing for the opportunity to connect, learn, and grow. This is why we’ve routinely opened our doors to the community, hosting events and allowing our partners to host events, as well.

One of our big events this past Fall took place on Friday, October 25th. A means of celebrating both Hispanic Heritage Month and Dia de Los Muertos, the event was organized by Padres Unidos of MUSD. This volunteer parent group works to highlight the richness of LatinX culture while fomenting high academic expectations for all LatinX students and their families.

This colorful and unique event allowed all who attended the opportunity to remember, reflect, and realize just how far we’ve come.

Dia De Los Muertos is known in Latin culture as the Day of the Dead. It’s a time of celebrating life and death, while remembering loved ones who've passed away. Padres Unidos created and dedicated their Dia De Los Muertos altar to 6 pilots and 7 Mexican Air Force staff members who lost their lives during World War II. During this time, Mexican pilots and support staff were fighting alongside American air and ground forces, as well as Filipino regular army and guerrilla forces. These brave soldiers, who fought against a common enemy with their brothers in arms in the Luzon Campaign, also supported the efforts of Chinese Nationalists in the Formosa Island (Taiwan) Campaign.

"What better historical illustration of a present-day Milpitas exists than this pivotal time when Americans, Mexicans, Filipinos, and Chinese heroes fought together for one common purpose?” asked Gerry Lopez, Early Childhood Development Coordinator of the Milpitas Unified School District. Lopez is also one of the organizers of Padres Unidos.

"Though these men and their efforts are rarely remembered in the United States, and even in Mexico, their involvement in this pivotal world event did much to normalize relations between the USA and Mexico,” added Lopez. "Where before antagonism and war had been the norm...the last 75 years, and even to this day, have seen two neighbor nations remain at peace.”

Community feedback from the event was highly positive, and the Extension hopes to co-host it again during the next school year.