PEORIA, Ill.– Dia de Los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that honors loved ones who’ve passed on and Saturday the Holiday was used to celebrate and unite.
The Romain Arts & Culture Community Center put on its inaugural Dia de Los Muertos event and fundraiser at its home center. The event brought out hundreds of community members, many with their faces painted in a skeleton fashion.
Nikki Romain, the center’s co-owner, said she wanted to use the event to share it with those who are unfamiliar with it.
“My goal is to make people happy to introduce people to a culture and to introduce art and to show them our love and our passion and what we’re doing here at Art, Inc,” Romain said.
The event brought people of all ages and races together through dinner, music, and mingling.
Sylvia Garcia, the event’s co-host said she hoped sharing her culture with the community will inspire them to embrace and possibly take part in it.
“Because I am Mexican, I always love to transmit what our culture is about, and it’s all about magic and happiness and color,” Garcia said. “I hope people will now want to take a trip to Mexico to see all the beauty that it has to offer.”
The event doubled as a fundraiser for the center’s programming for kids. It currently offers dance class, Spanish class, film class and has programs with the Peoria Public School District.
The event also honored former Caterpillar CEO Glen Barton who passed away in October of 2016.
Romain said overall she hopes she helped highlight a group of people that may not always be shown in the greatest light.
“The area that we’re in here in the north valley is typically African American and Latino,” Romain said. “So I wanted to shine a light on a culture and ethnicity that doesn’t always have a light shown on them in a good way.”