RxSafe Marin installed opioid awareness altars called ofrendas at the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead celebrations in Petaluma and San Francisco. Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that began some 3,000 years ago and is celebrated throughout Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage in the United States and around the world. According to tradition, the gates of heaven open to welcome back the spirits of deceased relatives for a brief reunion with food, drink and celebration. The gathering draws the community together to celebrate life’s most meaningful events, life and death in one spirit.
Día de los Muertos provided an emotional outlet for mourning.
The 28th Annual Dia de los Muertos held on November 2, 2019 at Potrero Del Sol Park in the Mission is a San Francisco Mexican and Latinx multicultural signature community event, defining the culture in the Mission District. The Festival of Altars has five community altars to symbolize our connection to the earth and to our ancestors. People are encouraged to add flowers, prayer candles, and mementos of loved ones to the community altars. More than 15,000 attend this event each year.
In Petaluma, altars are installed in downtown storefronts beginning the first week of October and stay up until November 2nd. On the last day, people walk the candlelight procession to the closing night event at the fairgrounds.
Participation in cultural events benefits the community because it allows citizens to respect other cultures, creating a sense of unity within a community. People that connect to multiple societies expand their own horizon, beliefs, attitudes and ideals, gaining empathy and tolerance. RxSafe Marin uses many tools to fight the Opioid Epidemic and public education is a very important component.
It is important to tap into what people value and understand how differing viewpoints affect how information is received. To educate the public and raise awareness about critical public concerns it is important to go where the people are and when information is mindful to include cultural elements then communication becomes highly effective. RxSafe Marin strives to engage and communication many different diverse ways so that more people can hear the message. Partnering with recognized groups/agencies and existing events is an effective strategy to build capacity.