Dia de los Muertos altar honors San Diegans who died from COVID-19

Posted at 9:00 PM, Nov 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 02:20:43-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - County officials created a Dia de los Muertos altar to honor the lives of 891 San Diegans who died from the coronavirus, and put a face and heart into the fight.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez championed the altar as a way to send a message.

"We wanted to honor those families and honor those lives lived and acknowledge the tremendous impact it's had, but also pay particular tribute to the impact that covid has had on the Latino community," Fletcher said.

Saying more than half of those who died in the county are Latinos. This is extremely disproportionate considering only 30% of the population is Hispanic, according to the 2019 Census.

"When we start looking at the actual human toll and our relatives who have moved on now as a result of this virus it becomes more real and reminds us why it's so important to stay so vigilant," Gonzalez said.

Vigilance is what Treasure Felder said would have saved her mom Ronda.

"She was our angel on earth and is now our angel in heaven, that's how we like to refer to her," said Felder.

Felder says her mom was a social worker with the county, caring for foster youth and a strong woman in her 60s.

"She was never really ill, in the hospital, or hurt. Even if she had a little pain she'd always push through. So to see her in a place where she could barely stand up and also having to be put in a chemically induced coma was something that none of us prepared for." she said.

She said she walked into her mother's room on July 4th and found she couldn't stand and was breathing heavily. She called an ambulance, even though her mother didn't want to go to the hospital, and never saw her again.

Felder said her mother always had her hand out to help others and is so incredibly proud of how her mother led her life. She hopes sharing her story of pain and emptiness, now that her mother is gone, will stir others to take steps like wearing a mask and social distancing to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The altar will stay up through Tuesday morning.