On Sunday night I joined over 100,000 people for the All Souls Procession in Tucson, the community’s version of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a remembrance and celebration of our departed loved ones. People paint their faces in their own version of sugar skulls and carry pictures of their loved ones, or wear special t-shirts in their honor or even push or pull small homemade floats.
The procession covers a 2-mile route, led by an urn and escorted by Taiko drums, so as we stand along the route waiting, we can hear them coming down the dark street. Attendants pass out papers for us to write the names of people we want to remember and then drop them in the urn for us. Then the street fills with a river of people, some silent, some dancing with the Mariachi bands that march with them, others singing. It is both somber and celebratory, joyful and sad. And as the procession passes by, more people step off the sidewalk to join, so that there is no difference between the ones watching and the ones walking. At the procession’s end, there is a ceremony, and the urn is burned, turning the names of our loved ones into light and smoke and carrying them into the starry skies.
The procession is all volunteer run and community funded. It costs about $1.50 per person to hire police to work the event, close off roads, rent space for the ceremony, and do all the other things that make it possible for us all to do this together. And that means that they are raising money for the event year-round. They’ve chosen to do this over taking corporate sponsors because they want it to remain focused on the community.
But community funding is hard. One organizer said, “If everyone gave us $2 that would be the whole budget.” But that’s not what happens. Of the 110,000 that participate, 8,000 give support. The rest is covered by business donors, merchandise sales, grants, and fundraising events.
We do too. So many of you have boosted that faith by sending in monetary support along with notes of encouragement, and now, with 14 days to go, we’re only $3,244 from our goal. Will we make it and keep on publishing On Pasture? Or will we miss it and spend the last week of November sending back donations, and checks? We’d much rather keep going forward, but only time and you can tell.
If you haven’t done so, now is a great time to head over to our Fall Fund Drive page. We’ve still got some great gifts, like Shannon Hayes’ 10th anniversary edition of the Gourmet Grassfed Cookbook (only 2 left!) and Forrest Pritchard’s newest book, Growing Tomorrow. There are Zombie Victory Gardens posters and t-shirts too. And of course, everyone who sends support gets a bumper sticker.
If you are an organization or company whose members or clients benefit from On Pasture, consider becoming a sponsor. Right now, our sponsors range in support from $250 to $5,000. You can choose what works for you, and we’ll set you up with something that works for you, like article reprints or advertising or other thank yous. Just contact Rachel (240-441-8044) and she’ll set you up.
And if you’ve given already, THANK YOU! We love having you in the On Pasture Community!
Kathy and Rachel