14 Dec La Virgin de Guadalupe procession at San Jose Center, Thermal
La Virgin de Guadalupe procession at San Jose Center, Thermal
The patron saint of Mexico gets her day every December 12th in an array of celebrations and processions – some monumental, others more humble and home spun. I remember visiting the San Jose Community Center in Thermal last year…wide-eyed to it all. Coming back a year later, with a year of Crisalida’s community engagement under our belts, and with an oral history project with Pueblo Unido starting up, it felt like a significant marker for the project. This day of reverence is celebrated in the Vargas Mobile Home Park with a procession through the street as we marched behind the statue of the virgin, singing Guadalupe’s praises, and carrying posters centered on environmental justice issues important to the people; clean water, working sewers, paved roads, and the removal of toxic waste dumps nearby. The mix of community, religious reverence, and social action was thrilling. Crisalida sponsored the Lomeli Mariachi Band to perform during the meal of homemade tamales and soup. The band came dressed to the nines in their traditional costumes and brought a spirit of joyful celebration to the event.