Day of the Dead is a traditional celebration with deep cultural roots in our New Mexico communities. It symbolizes transformation from life to death, but also ties into the change from the harvest season to the cold winter months. On Saturday, November 1st 2014 the Center for Social Sustainable Systems (CESOSS) will celebrate Day of the Dead by hosting their 1st Annual Muertos Fun Run along the Atrisco Drain acequia to run for our future and honor our past. The event begins at Sanchez Farms at 9:30am and will be followed by festivities until 12:30pm.
The Muertos Fun Run is a dynamic event that seeks to honor and draw attention to the cultural and agricultural importance of our traditional acequias by encouraging runners to sprint along the acequia. The event also supports CESOSS’s Cultivando Nuestro Futuro (Cultivating our Future) Leadership Institute, which develops strong young leaders to advocate for the preservation of land, water and culture in their communities.
“The Muertos Fun Run emerges out a philosophy of transformation;” says Virginia Necochea, executive director of CESOSS and PhD candidate for Foundations of Education at UNM, “the growing season is ending, and soon the acequias will be shut off, signaling the change in season. This run is not just celebrating Dia de Los Muertos because it is trendy, it actually means something; this is about going back to our roots and preparing the ground for our future by investing in our traditions and our youth.”
CESOSS is an entirely volunteer-supported nonprofit organization that was born in 2011 out of a need to focus on issues surrounding land, water and culture in the South Valley. The organization’s efforts are heavily focused on engaging, educating and cultivating strong, young leaders to become advocates for their communities. Through their Cultivando Nuestro Futuro Leadership Institute, CESOSS provides young adults with access to educational mentors, training and research on the legislative process to become future leaders in their communities and state.
“Cultivando Nuestro Futuro Leadership Institute is not only about teaching young adults how to understand issues in their community,” Says Virginia, “we also tie those issues into legislative policy and processes. It is important our young people understand the processes necessary to make change. Not only are these Future Community Leaders mobilizing and taking part in community events, they also have the ability and resources they need to research and understand legislation and policy.”
The Muertos Fun Run will begin at Sanchez Farms at 1180 Arenal Road SW at 9am with registration and a blessing and honoring of the acequias at 9:30 am. At 10am the run will commence and there will also be activities for kids, speakers, poets and arts and crafts at the Farms. Donations will go to support educational stipends for eight Future Community Leaders to attend the Cultivando Nuestro Future Leadership Institute.
CESOSS is a research and learning center that that nurtures its approach to community development by working directly with community leaders on local issues. The mission of CESOSS is to serve as an agent for social and economic change by creating innovative educational programs and initiatives that connect people, ideas and resources. Through its educational programs and research projects, CESOSS serves as a vehicle to promote policy development, critical thinking, social entrepreneurship and analysis of current social challenges our communities are facing.