The Ofrenda Community Project, Jazzmin’s Reflection
She Reminds Me of Everything
A collaboration between the Museum & WriteGirl
Community voices within Museum exhibits bring added value, perspectives, and spirit. In partnership with WriteGirl, a creative writing and mentoring organization that promotes creativity and critical thinking, the Community Engagement team at the Museum created The Ofrenda Community Project. Participants received at-home storytelling kits anchored in the ofrenda or altar located in the Becoming Los Angeles exhibition. WriteGirl youth selected an inspiration object in the ofrenda that they felt drawn to and created a memory map based on that object to explore connections and meaning in their personal experiences. They then crafted their own object to add to the ofrenda and developed a creative writing piece derived from the memory map activity.
Jazzmin’s inspiration object was the Lowriders Imperial Club miniature, pictured below. Lowrider culture began in Los Angeles in the 1940s, included renowned clubs like the IMPERIALS, and cemented itself into the predominantly Chicano/Hispanic community.
MEET JAZZMIN, 16 YEARS OLD FROM SOUTH CENTRAL L.A., CALIFORNIA
Jazzmin is a young writer, currently residing in South Central Los Angeles. Jazzmin is a Bold Leader with WriteGirl. She currently writes articles for her school’s student activist group called ROYALTY. Her first article was a co-write about domestic abuse during the pandemic. She has received a gold pin from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for a story about an imperfect ballerina who is actually a malfunctioning robot. She is also currently in the editing process of her first young adult novel. Family is everything to her and she would do anything for her stubborn but supportive parents and for her sisters who are not afraid to live their lives to the fullest.
She Reminds Me of Everything
I struggled with this project to figure out what to create that would symbolize growing up and what was important to me. And like with most things, I went to my mom for guidance. My mom was raised Catholic, and when I mentioned the ofrenda, she immediately thought of incorporating a saint into my project: the Virgen de Guadalupe.
Even though my mom raised my siblings and me to be Catholic, I never caught onto it. Maybe it had something to do with the language barrier because we went to a Spanish-speaking church, and I was the kind of Hispanic who doesn’t speak Spanish. Or because a part of me stopped believing in God because of all the times he wasn’t there for me. I think it was a lot of things.
But the Virgen de Guadalupe managed to make an impact on my life in different ways, which is why I decided to use her for my offering to the ofrenda. I also wanted to add a poem to better explain why the Virgen de Guadalupe symbolizes a part of my childhood.
Her eyes are everywhere
They stare deeply at me as I grow
She’s engraved on the candles we place to give my loved ones light
She holds my mother’s hand,
Keeping her together or else she might fall
She’s the Virgen my ancestors grew up believing in
She’s the telenovela that always plays on my TV
The only entertainment at my mami Mona’s house
She saves lost souls like myself who pray for her guidance
Her white rose gives hope
The sappy drama written by Hispanic writers
All feels safe
Reminding me of my late Hispanic abuelita
Who loved telenovelas as much as she loved me
She’s the reason for the loud, clapping of feet hitting the street pavement
The reason people from my street gather
Crowded up in one yard
To hear the priest talk about the Virgen on her birthday
A large portrait of her, lit with dozens of candles
And silhouettes of white roses
Stands at the front
We all stare, at the beauty
Pozole and champurrado dance in the air, tempting our bellies
I remember staring in awe at the dancers
Skirts rattling as they move swiftly on their feet
Honoring and celebrating the Virgen
The one who will help them if they make the wrong decisions
I admire the Virgen de Guadalupe
She symbolizes some of the best parts of growing up
She reminds me of time I spent with my mami Mona
She’s who I think of when I see a white rose
She’s who I pray to when I pass a mural of her
I smile every time I hear the theme song to “La Rosa de Guadalupe”
Because it reminds me of her
And she reminds me of everything
Jazzmin documents the making of her ofrenda object
Gotta roll it like pizza dough.
I have no idea how I’m going to shape it perfectly, because right now I’m just guessing.
This is coming out way better than I thought.
Painting away the imperfections.
Wow, I’m almost done... but I still have to clean up.
Not too bad for my first time sculpting out of clay.
The Virgen and her rose.
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