Dia de los Muertos

La Familia Sana gets ready to celebrate for the first time

Next week the Latinx community in Cloverdale will get the opportunity to commemorate a holiday deeply rooted in tradition.

Neidi Calvillo, outreach advocate for Cloverdale-based nonprofit La Familia Sana, said the first Día de los Muertos celebration will be Oct. 30 at the downtown plaza from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

This is the first time an event of this sort occurs in Cloverdale.

“We decided it would be a good idea to have a Día de los Muertos event since we have never had one before. We know Corazón Healdsburg always puts something on so we thought ‘why don't we bring that to our community,’” Calvillo said.

In less than a month the event was planned. Calvillo said it will feature food vendors, small businesses, arts and crafts as well as handmade items made by artists. A variety of nonprofits will attend to hand out information on what they offer and Alexander Valley Healthcare will host a clinic for COVID-19 and flu vaccinations. The clinic will offer the Pfizer vaccine and people can get their first, second or a booster shot.

Face painting will be available for children and the organization is in the works of getting a ballet folklorico as entertainment.

Calvillo said she believes the community is already excited for it.

“I think it is going to have a really good outcome. On Sunday we went to do outreach at the Catholic church in town and we had a lot of people interested. We handed out cards promoting it and people were excited I think because they have never had stuff like this,” she said.

“People even thought it was an advertisement for the Corazón Healdsburg event. We do expect to have a lot of people just from the people from the church — that is a lot,” Calvillo said.

This is the first time an event for Día de los Muertos is occurring in Cloverdale, and Calvillo said she believes it is because there was not proper representation for the Latinx community in the past.

“We have a Latinx mayor now, but before her no one was trying to do things for the community. Now she is trying for people to have representation. When we came in we saw the need. The community needs help and there were no resources and we are trying to hear them out and bring those resources to them,” she said.

The event will feature a big altar with ofrendas and local bakery El Palomo will feature small conchas and pan de muerto free for the community. Calvillo said they can either eat it as they like or use it as an offering. People are encouraged to bring photos of their loved ones as well as their favorite food or drinks.

“I think Día de los Muertos represents a connection with the loved ones they lost. It is a day to commemorate everyone. I feel like this day is about remembering and connecting with one another. It is this day where the entire community comes together to celebrate them,” she said.

Since this is the first Día de los Muertos event in Cloverdale organized by La Familia Sana, Calvillo emphasized how the organization plans to continue organizing events like these.

“We are here and we are here to stay. There have been a lot of organizations and resources that have come into town which have tried to help underserved communities but they never stayed,” she said.

“People need something that is consistent and always there and does not leave,” Calvillo said. “The first couple of times we tried to do outreach, they did not trust us. After seeing us a couple of times they started to talk to us and feel trust. We are going to stay here and keep pushing. Even if people do not trust us yet we are going to get that trust and we are going to stay.”

Elsa Cavazos is a Latina journalist originally from Texas who will be covering social justice issues in Sonoma County. Cavazos' favorite things to write about are feminist and social justice issues. She loves leopard print, anything pink and reading.

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