Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Day of the Dead celebration idea: And now for something completely different

Day of the Dead shrine I created to remember family members. (Photo and shrine by Pamela Powers)

Personal memorial shrines are not seen much in the part of the country where I grew up. Giant, gleaming white Calvinistic crosses, yes. Individual shrines with statues, candles, flowers, momentos, not so much (or at least not outside of the cemetery).

In the 30 years that I have lived in Tucson, I have grown to value and admire this cultural tradition. Some shrines around town– like the one on Greasewood near Pima College, the ghost bike at Mountain and Fort Lowell, the magnificent display for Gabrielle Giffords in front of UMC, and others– are unique, well-maintained remembrances.

The Carlos Lamadrid Shrine, erected by the US-Mexico border fence where he was shot to death, is particularly poignant. I don’t know much about Carlos except what I have read in the newspaper. He was a 19-year-old, Latino community college student who grew up in Douglas and was in the wrong place at the wrong time with a large quantity of marijuana.

Carlos is one of hundreds of people who have died on the US-Mexico border. Crossers, drug mules, gangsters, cartel customers, ranchers, border patrol agents, children… all gone.

The Border Patrol wants Carlos’ family to remove the shrine near Douglas obstensibly to rebuild the fence. I think they want that shrine gone because they want everyone to forget about Carlos and the lives lost on the border.

What if everyone who lost a loved one on the border erected a shrine along the border fence? Think about it. Hundreds of shrines, thousands of flowers, photos, candles, momentos. What a beautiful remembrance and poignant message that would be.

Death on the border is not about drugs, money, security, jobs or violence; it’s about life on the border.

2 comments on “Day of the Dead celebration idea: And now for something completely different

  1. Anayalator
    October 5, 2011

    Move the shrine , fix the fence, put the shrine back. 


  2. jpass
    October 6, 2011

    Just what we need….more shrines.they are all over the roadways in all their gruesomeness.Imagine if everyone put up shrines for everyones loved ones that have passed on,before you know it there wouldn’t be room for anything else.That’s why we have cemeterys.Let’s let the deceased rest in peace and remember them in your heart not on the roadways.


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This entry was posted on October 5, 2011 by in Arizona, Drugs, economy, Free Speech, Immigration, Politics, Tucson and tagged , , , .
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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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