The Latino Equality Alliance (LEA) says it is rejecting the sponsorship of City Councilmember Kevin de León for the seventh annual Calavera LGBTQ Festival taking place Saturday in Boyle Heights.
An intergenerational Día de los Muertos celebration of community focused on honoring departed loved ones, the event will be held outdoors for the first time – a signal of its growth in recent years. It takes place from 6 to 10 pm outside of Mi Centro, 533 South Clarence Street.
““Our LGBTQ Calavera Festival is about bringing people together to celebrate youth and enjoy the rich heritage of our ancestors, said Eddie Martinez, executive director of the Latino Equality Alliance. “Cultural pride and family are so important for our Latinx LGBTQ community.”
The decision to reject de León’s sponsorship came following the recent controversy involving a recorded conversation with racist and homophobic statements in which he and other councilmembers participated. The organization said that it will reject sponsorship funds offered by de León’s office.
In a social media post this week, LEA urged de León and councilmember Gil Cedillo to resign to the City Council:
“As an organization that serves youth, we were appalled by the verbal violence that was ignited… As an LGBTQ+ community organization in Council District 14, we feel betrayed and let down by Council Member Kevin de León inappropriate and indefensible speech… Día de los Muertos is a sacred holiday that draws from the culture of Oaxaqueñe people and we will not stand by the racist anti-indigenous sentiments that were expressed to these members of our community.”
The event is set to feature queer Latinx artists Gio Bravo, Angel Elizade and DJ Martin M as well as folklorico and Aztec dancing performances, with a Mx. Calavera drag competition expected to be the evening’s highlight. Cocktails and food will be available at the event, alongside with various booths spotlighting local vendors and organizations.
General admission tickets are available on the organization’s website for $25. Children under 12 are welcome to come to the event for free. Proceeds from the event will benefit programs offered through LEA that provide safe spaces, promote youth development and increase family acceptance within the community.