A “Garden of Memories” participant puts his hand behind the cloth and canvas wall to provide support as he mounts a message to his father. “Manuel Solís, feliz día papá, te quiero – Manolo.” Credit: Hiram Alejandro Durán for El Tímpano/CatchLight Local/Report for America corps member
On Sunday, October 29th, Oakland’s Fruitvale district was dotted with bright orange marigold flowers and filled with the smell of incense as thousands converged for the annual Day of the Dead festival, which spanned seven blocks of International Boulevard.
This year, El Tímpano set up a community altar called “Garden of Memories” where we invited festival attendees to write the names and memories of deceased loved ones on paper flowers. Parents and kids reflected on grandparents, some people honored friends and family lost to COVID-19, and others remembered groups of people like the desaparecidos of Mexico and the victims of the war in Palestine. More than 250 people participated over the course of the day, including several subscribers of El Tímpano’s SMS platform who brought portraits of their family members for our altar.
El Tímpano’s Hiram Alejandro Durán captured our booth in photos.
Hiram Alejandro Durán is an award-winning photojournalist from the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez border region. Durán is a fourth-generation Mexican-American and the first person in his family to be raised and educated in the United States. Before moving to NYC in 2018, he worked as a shoe salesman while studying Media Advertising and Marketing at the University of Texas at El Paso. Durán joined the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism with the intention of becoming a print reporter. But, after auditing an intro to photojournalism course, he discovered the power of photography as a storytelling tool. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Marshall Project, The Pulitzer Center, The Imprint News, Bklyner and The Mail & Guardian in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Katherine Nagasawa is a multimedia journalist who specializes in participatory storytelling rooted in community and place. She creates multimedia stories, tools and experiences that help people more deeply engage with the places they live and with each other — and she invites them to collaborate with her to shape the projects’ direction, content and presentation. Katherine was previously a digital and engagement producer at WBEZ public radio in Chicago, where she helped answer people’s questions about Chicago and the region for the show Curious City. She also led community engagement strategy for WBEZ’s newsroom to expand the reach, relevance, and impact of their journalism to racial communities historically underserved by the station. Most recently, Katherine produced several interactive web curriculums about Japanese American World War II incarceration and resettlement to Chicago and the Midwest Japanese American movement for redress and reparations.