Stockton Migrant Center celebrated Dia de los Muertos


Marigolds, traditional Mexican dishes, papel picado (perforated paper) and photos of loved ones adorned altars during the Dia de los Muertos celebration at the Stockton center for migrants on Tuesday.

Each of the seven altars in the East March Lane installation represented different groups of residents who died but are still remembered.

An altar for those who lost their lives to COVID-19, another for braceros, migrant workers, or who died at the border, community advocates, the parents of farmer advocate Luis Magaña, and an altar for Jessica salcedo, 25, who was found dead in a Stockton auto store in 2016.

Altars remain an important staple of Mexican tradition. The one that Magaña has been celebrating by decorating altars since 1998.

Altars are more than pictures, food and colorful decorations. Magaña described them as a symbol of “prevention and justice” for migrant workers who have died unjustly.

Altar with signatures of deceased braceros.

“La gente muere por accidentes, muere por enfermedades en el campo o por pesticidas.” (People die from accidents, they die from diseases in the fields or from pesticides) he said.

A short procession around the Migrant Center took place to honor them all. Adults and children held white crosses and candles to represent those who died, while a guitarist played melodies.

A photo of Maria Eugenia Chavez Segovia was displayed on the altar of the resident. Segovia had planned to come to Stockton where she had family and hoped to work, Magaña said.

She died in May on her third attempt to enter the United States when she and two Mexican nationals drowned at sea while the boat they were traveling on an overloaded trawler style boat has run aground.

Other event attendees shared anecdotes and life lessons they learned from their deceased loved ones. Children danced to traditional music, the guitarist played and sang, and Mexican food was served.

Magaña said that the purpose of the altars is to remember your loved ones with joy.

“Hay una historia en cada fotografía, una gran historia.” (There is a story in every photograph, a beautiful story), he said.

Record-breaking journalist Angelaydet Rocha covers the latest news. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AngelaydetRocha. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at

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