Culture

This Día De Los Muertos, Let’s Honor Those Who Died Looking For The American Dream

Jen Reel/Texas Observer

Every year, thousands of people from Central America and Mexico leave behind everything and everyone they’ve known and loved for a shot at a better life. Best case scenario, they survive the treacherous journey and end up working some low wage job. Worst case scenario, they die in anonymity, far from a family that has no idea what’s happened to them.

Every year, the U.S. Border Patrol recovers the remains of at least 200 dead immigrants across the southwest border. Those are just the bodies they’ve FOUND.

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For many immigrants, getting to the U.S. border is the easy part. The real struggle comes from having to traverse the brutal Sonoran desert or the punishing ranch lands of Texas. Dehydration, exposure to a blistering sun, injury, and even wildlife makes that part of the journey an actual living hell. For hundreds, the unfriendly setting becomes their graveyard.

When an immigrant dies, it’s like they disappear forever.  When authorities find their bodies, the remains are so decomposed that identification is next to impossible. In one Texas county, the remains were buried in mass graves. This year alone, 54 bodies were recovered from that same county.

Credit: Fusion/YouTube

“Nobody cares about dead immigrants,” forensic anthropologist Dr. Lori Baker told the Texas Observer last year. Baker led the excavation of the Falfurrias mass grave. They’re harsh words, but they’re true, and no one knows this better than Baker. She has devoted much of her professional career to finding who the dead bodies belong to so that they can be reunited with their families for proper mourning. Much of this work is done through her organization, “Reuniting Families.”

Despite the Herculean task, a lot of good people are doing everything they can to identify the bodies and give them a name.

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Credit: Jen Reel/Texas Observer

Last year, the Texas Observer teamed up with Baker to launch a photographic database of personal belongings found next to excavated bodies. Because the remains are so deteriorated, forensic analysis becomes increasingly harder. The hope is that the families looking for their loved ones can sift through the images to see if they recognize anything. It’s a long shot, but at this point anything helps. Elmer Barahona Iraheta, a 22-year-old father who left El Salvador so as to provide for his young daughter, was identified this way.

It’s not just the Texas Observer that’s trying to help. Earlier this July, local California newspaper The Desert Sun published photographs of actual dead bodies in hopes that someone could identify them.

The point of Día De Los Muertos is to remember and honor our loved ones who have passed. Those who died trying to find a better life for them and theirs deserve to be remembered. They had a name and a story to tell. Politics aside, no one deserves to die in the middle of nowhere, only to be forgotten. They existed. Their lives matter.


In remembrance, we encourage you to make a donation to Reuniting Families. The nonprofit runs entirely on the support of volunteers. They could use every little bit of help.


READ: The U.S. Can Thank Immigrants For Its Youthful Appearance

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Samantha Bee Sat Down With Four Undocumented People Who Once Worked For President Trump

Things That Matter

Samantha Bee Sat Down With Four Undocumented People Who Once Worked For President Trump

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee / YouTube

President Trump has made it a key part of his presidency to go after undocumented immigrants. He has used tactics to demonize them and uses fearmongering to make sure his base of supporters blame the undocumented community for their problems. Samantha Bee recently sat down with three undocumented people who were once employees of Trump and how they saw a change after his practices were exposed.

Samantha Bee started by asking them if they needed papers when they were first hired.

Credit: Full Frontal with Samanta Bee / YouTube

“When I got there I asked the supervisor, ‘Do we need papers here?’” one of the women recalled. “And she says, ‘No, no, it doesn’t matter. But in 2016, they started asking for documents. And then my manager told me, ‘This guy will take you somewhere where they make those papers.’”

That’s right. A former housekeeper for President Trump told Samantha Bee that she was not required to have papers are the start of her job but was eventually taken to get fake ones made.

Originally, the undocumented workers for Trump did think that things might get better for them when he was running to be president.

Credit: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee / YouTube

However, they quickly realized that he was going to do anything but help them if he won the race. Unfortunately, they were right. Trump has a documented record of attacking undocumented immigrants and has started taking aim at legal immigrants.

Within the company, things did change when Trump started his presidential campaign.

Credit: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee / YouTube

“When he started his campaign, from then on they didn’t let me go to his house,” one woman told Samantha Bee. “So, I would go into Ivanka’s house and sometimes Eric’s when he would visit.”

Yet, instead of firing people for being undocumented when he became the president, he gave them certificates.

Credit: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee / YouTube

The certificates were to show the employees how much Trump appreciated their hard work while working for him. They originally thought they were pretty cool because they are from the White House. Yet, it was not enough to combat the darkness to come.

It wasn’t long until there was abuse from the supervisors, according to one woman.

Credit: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee / YouTube

“The supervisor would assign me double shifts,” the first source said. “And she would tell me, ‘This is how we should treat immigrants’—and if we said anything, immigration would come. And when [Trump] called us ‘immigrant rapists,’ the supervisor would say, ‘Good, good, that’s nice because immigrants are no good. Garbage.’ … There were many insults, and she even hit me three times,” she alleged. “So I decided to speak out, because there was so much injustice.”

Watch the full interview below!

READ: Undocumented Employees Are Being Fired From Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Resort After Hiring Practices Were Exposed

Add This Día De Los Muertos Ice Cream Sandwich To Our Favorite Latino-Inspired Fall Foods At Disney

Culture

Add This Día De Los Muertos Ice Cream Sandwich To Our Favorite Latino-Inspired Fall Foods At Disney

Disneyland_Allfun / Instagram

Disney and Pixar gave the world Coco in 2017. The wonderful tribute to Mexican culture (seemingly crafted to make people of all ages cry), has ushered in a new era of Latinx and Mexican culture into Disney. Since the movie’s success, you can now cop tons of Latinx-inspired foods with a Disney twist at Disneyland. Just this month, the amusement park announced a concha ice cream sandwich — an invention so deadly delicious it’s only available in the afterlife (and at Disneyland too, lol). 

The film that brought Día de Los Muertos to life through beautiful, vibrant storytelling and animation featured a Mexican cast and composer. Coco was the first film with a nine-figure budget to feature an all Latinx principal cast and won two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, “Remember Me.” 

Check out our favorite Latinx treats at Disneyland, but this is just a taste of the menu there’s a wide selection of options at the land where dreams come true. 

Pan Dulce Concha Ice Cream Sandwich

She’s gorgeous, she’s stunning, she’s Selena Quintanilla! OK, maybe not. But this Mexican ice cream sandwich is a sight for sore eyes. Made with a pink and blue concha, aka Mexican sweet bread, and stuffed with dulce de leche ice cream — you might die of a sugar coma. The sandwich is also filled with cajeta, a goat milk-based caramel sauce, and churro streusel. Then to commemorate Día de los Muertos, a white chocolate sugar skull is nestled in a dollop of whipped cream. 

“Following the Mexican tradition of using bright colors as a celebration of life, the shell-like concha breads are also covered in a crunchy rainbow sugar crust, which makes them look both delicious and totally Insta-worthy,” according to Pop Sugar’s Chanel Vargas

The Conchas are available starting this month and cost $8 at Disneys’s flagship Mexican restaurant, Frontierland’s Rancho del Zocalo. 

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Elotes

New elotes at the Cozy Cone Motel are another tribute to Mexican culture. The elotes comes in three different flavor queso cojito, Cheetos, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. These Elotes are limited edition and seasonal (this summer) so get them while you still can.

Orange Sugar Skull Pot de Creme

This “Orange Sugar Skull Pot de Creme” is made with thick layers of chocolate pudding, crumbled chocolate cake, and topped with a white chocolate orange sugar skull and colorful candies. 

The Maleficent Churro

According to Disneyland stans, the Maleficient Churro is a hot commodity because it is only available during Halloween. This month it has made its delicious return. Let’s be honest, the weird-looking churro is made with chocolate cookie crumbles, green sugar, and has a marshmallow dipping sauce. I don’t know what Maleficent has to do with Churros but I don’t care.

Frozen Abuelita Horchata

 Look, I am not saying I love capitalism, and certainly hope there are Latinx people profiting from these treats as well — but ¡diablo! — I want this right now. The Frozen Abuelita is layered with frozen hot chocolate and frozen horchata, then topped with spiced whipped cream.  

Coco Cake

Disney Food Blog referred to the Coco Cake as the “best cake ever.” With layers of vanilla-flavored pink and orange cake, what sets the Coco Cake apart from others is its cream cheese frosting on the outside, and two layers of cinnamon churro mouse on the inside. Disney took the glycemic index and blasted it off space mountain. The base of the cake is also decorated with gold-dusted chocolate curls. This is what Coco deserves. Remember me, indeed.

Chile Mango Whip

The chile mango whip is made with chamoy, mango, pineapple, cucumber, jicama, and chile-lime salt. 

The Sandianada and Mangonada

“The Sandianada is a watermelon smoothie with chamoy, watermelon chunks, topped with a chili candy. Mangonada is a mango smoothie with chamoy, mango pieces, topped with a chili candy,” wrote one Instagram user.

Secret Menu: Zocalo Burrito

Like every restaurant (apparently) Disneyland has a few secret menu items too. At Rancho del Zocalo you can request the Zocalo Burrito which is filled with every ingredient in the prep line for $12.99. 

Cinnamon-sugar Buñuelos Chips  

This seasonal holiday treat or as Disney calls it “dessert nachos” is something to look forward to this winter season. There is nothing more comforting (I’m guessing, I haven’t tried this yet) than cinnamon-sugar buñuelos chips with chocolate and caramel sauces, sprinkles, and a whipped cream topping.