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The Prospector

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UTEP library holds a display for Bobby Byrd for Día de los Muertos

Jasmin Campoya
As Dia De Los Muertos is one of the most important celebrations in Mexican Culture, the UTEP Library has setup a display in honor of Bobby Byrd.

The UTEP library makes an altar, or an ofrenda, for the dead every year and dedicate it to someone prominent at the university, as well as for the writing and art community. This year’s altar was erected Thursday, Oct. 27 and was dedicated to the late Bobby Byrd of Cinco Puntos Press.  

The library has done this for at least the last 20 years. This building was ideal because of the location for the exhibits committee as well as the archives of books and art held there.  

According to Claudia Rivers, head of the Special Collections Department, with each display they try to honor a local author to highlight the work of the border and educate students on Día De Los Muertos as well.  

“This year, we’re honoring Bobby Byrd, who was, with his wife Lee, one of the owners of the Cinco Puntos Press here in town,” Rivers said. “They were a really important publisher. And actually, nationally important, because they are one of the biggest publishers of bilingual children’s books.”  

Byrd was born in 1942 and he and his wife founded Cinco Puntos in 1985. He is also author of many books such as “The Price of Doing Business in Mexico: Poems,” “White Panties, Dead Friends, and Other Bits and Pieces of Love,” “Otherwise My Life is Ordinary” and “Puro Border: Dispatches, Snapshots, and Graffiti from La Frontera.” His press’ books have been awarded the Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association. Byrd passed away on July 11.  

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that is a combination of Latin culture and the catholic religion that came with colonization, according to  

The day is celebrated by families visiting their deceased loved ones on the first two days of November. Families also create these altars, providing necessities for the souls of their loved ones for traveling, according to the Mexican Student Association. When a person dies, it is believed that they depart to Chicunamictlán, Land of the Dead, reports. 

According to Rivers, items that are often put on an altar consist of favorite beverages and foods, sugar skulls, along with a glass of water with a stone in it and marigolds. Another thing is a picture of the individual that the family wants to remember.  

“We thought that it was a good way to bring attention to writers and artists, and other people who are intellectual leaders when they had died recently,” Rivers said. “Also, it kind of carries on the Latin American tradition.” 


Kristen Scheaffer is a contributor and can be reached at [email protected].  

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About the Contributors
Kristen Scheaffer, Contributor/Writer
Kristen Scheaffer is a senior, studying multimedia journalism with a minor in creative writing. She is starting her final semester at UTEP and The Prospector, with hopes of graduating in December. When she is not reporting, she can be found reading, writing, drawing, and hiking. Her aspirations include publishing her own writing and delving more into politics.
Jasmin Campoya, Photographer
Jasmin Campoya is a bilingual student who is a senior currently majoring in digital media production at UTEP. She is a staff photographer for The Prospector, a photo editor for Minero Magazine, and is currently a social media and marketing intern for El Paso Inc. All while being a full time student, she also takes photos for her own small business, JasminCPhoto. Jasmin plans on continuing photography and hopes to work full time at an El Paso publication.
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UTEP library holds a display for Bobby Byrd for Día de los Muertos