PILSEN — Adam Toledo, the 13-year-old whom Chicago police shot and killed, is being remembered at the National Museum of Mexican Art’s Día de los Muertos exhibit.
Día de los Muertos — Day of the Dead — is a Mexican holiday that runs Nov. 1-2, honoring people who have died by decorating ofrendas, or altars, with their pictures, flowers and other mementos. The museum’s ofrenda for Toledo, and the exhibition as a whole, has gotten a positive reception, said museum educator Gilberto Sandoval.
“It really shows he was just a kid,” Sandoval said.
Toledo’s ofrenda was decorated by his mother, Elizabeth Toledo, and his art teacher. The museum’s chief curator, Cesáreo Moreno, invited them to participate, and the ofrendas went on display Sept. 13 at the museum, 1852 W. 19th St.
The ofrenda features photos of Toledo with some of his favorite things: Cubs gear, Legos, sneakers and a bag of Cheetos. Mixed in are candles and marigolds, a flower traditionally used in decorating ofrendas.
A police officer shot and killed Toledo early March 29 after a brief foot chase in Little Village. Toledo had dropped a gun and was holding up his empty hands when the officer shot him, video showed.
It took days for police to identify Toledo and inform his family.
Toledo’s slaying received national attention, with multiple protests held in Chicago. Activists have said the officer who shot Toledo, Eric Stillman, should be charged with murder. The case is being investigated by Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
The Police Department has revised its foot chase policy — but it still allows officers to chase people.
The museum’s Día de los Muertos exhibit looks to tap into the collective act of mourning and grieving that people have missed out on over the past year due to the pandemic, Sandoval said.
Community members are invited to celebrate with the museum on Oct. 30 as a part of Day of the Dead Xicágo, where people can create their own ofrendas for loved ones in Harrison Park behind the museum while enjoying live music and art activities.
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