Detroit Day of the Dead ofrenda honors those who died in ICE custody

Courtesy of #ChingaLaMIGRA
For the Mexican holiday of Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos, it's customary to create an ofrenda — an altar in honor of those who have died. A group of Detroit-based activists has created an eye-catching one near the U.S.-Canadian border.

The ofrenda is set up blocks from the Ambassador Bridge, so ICE agents drive by it. Above it is a banner that reads "Free Them All."

It honors those who have died under ICE custody, including Jimmy Al-Daoud, a Hazel park resident who died earlier this year after he was deported to Iraq. Al-Daoud came to the U.S. legally as a six-month-old baby with his Iraqi Christian parents, who were refugees. He lived in the U.S. nearly his entire life, experiencing homelessness and getting convicted for crimes such as theft and marijuana possession.

Once in Iraq, Al-Daoud died while struggling to find insulin.

The ofrenda also honors Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez, a transgender woman from Honduras who had joined a migrant caravan seeking asylum.

"With the altar on the border, a coalition of activists want to make it known that those who lost their lives in migration and detention deserve a home, deserve dignity," a statement from the activist collective, the #ChingaLaMIGRA coalition, reads.

"'Free Them All' aims to make the statement that life in CAGES is no life at all," it continues. "We should abolish the punitive systems that punish migration, a basic human right."

The ofrenda is located near Bagley Street and St. Anne Street in Southwest Detroit.

Día de Muertos is celebrated Nov. 1 and 2.

Courtesy of #ChingaLaMIGRA

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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
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