Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Monday, November 18, 2019 — Houston, TX 54°

Faculty, students dedicate Dia de los Muertos to children who have died in ICE custody


By Anna Ta     11/1/19 5:04pm

Over 50 students and faculty dedicated their celebration of el Día de Los Muertos to the remembrance to the children who have died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. The event was held by the today in Rayzor Hall from four to six  p.m.

Students were urged to attend the event after photos circulated of students dressed as ICE officers at the Halloween event at Willy’s Pub. The photos caused outrage and responses from administration and student leadership. 

The event began with an introduction from Luziris Pineda Turi and three members of Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice, who explained the significance of el Día de Los Muertos first in Spanish, then in English.

This presentation was followed by the stories of children who have died in ICE custody in their journeys of immigration to the United States. As with the introduction, the biographies were read by students within Rice’s Spanish program of all levels of proficiency, first in Spanish, then in English. 

Summer Shabana, a freshman at Baker College, read a biography written by the sister of Carlos Hernandez Vasquez, who died at age 16 in an ICE holding facility after crossing the Texas border. 

“Carlos was very happy about traveling to the United States,” she read. “Because he was excited to send back money to help his parents.”

Vasquez died in May of the flu.

Turi began to cry as she closed out the program, asking students to write cards to the rest of the children who remain in ICE custody.

“We didn’t want this to feel hopeless,” she said. “I know it’s hard, but I know that myself and all my colleagues are very proud to be at Rice and to see all these faces here today.”

More from The Rice Thresher

NEWS 11/17/19 3:53pm
Pompeo confronts foreign policy, but not impeachment in 'quid pro quo' visit to Baker Institute

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke about the “natural hunger for human freedom,” criticized the Communist Party of China and fielded questions regarding U.S. foreign policy in countries  such as Syria and Mexico as part of his Friday visit to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. Outside the event and in the Rice Memorial Center, students staged demonstrations in response to his visit. 

NEWS 11/15/19 2:18pm
Houston Coalition meets to discuss Community Benefits Agreement regarding The Ion

The Houston Coalition for Equitable Development without Displacement, a group that includes many Third Ward community organizations as well as the Student Coalition for a Just and Equitable Innovation Corridor, was officially established in a meeting on Nov. 12 to secure a community benefits agreement with Rice Management Company they continue to develop the innovation corridor, according to the Student Coalition’s Facebook page.


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.