Author found an altar while stopping off at Milpa Grille for a crispy pork belly breakfast burrito by gourmet taco popup, Macheen. (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

LOS ANGELES — If LA County sheriff’s deputy Miguel Vega didn’t kill Andres Guardado, he might have voted in his first general primary election yesterday. But in June, the 18-year-old was shot five times in his back while he ran away from deputies.

Guardado is just one of dozens of people who have been killed by law enforcement this year and one of the many souls remembered here in Los Angeles on Día de los Muertos — the day of the dead. Guardado is buried under a lush patch of green gas and a small tree in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This year, his family created an ofrenda for him made up of a bed of flowers, a T-shirt that reads “I am not your wings,” and a SpongeBob SquarePants doll.

2020 has been a tough and deadly year for Angelenos. Between police violence and the pandemic, thousands of lives have been taken. This summer the LA County Sheriff’s Department fatally shot over nine people, including Guardado, and there have been over 7,000 COVID-19-related deaths in LA County, including over 3,000 Latino deaths.

While public health orders prevented people from gathering in mass, family and friends of those who have passed still found ways this week to honor their loved ones, from Boyle Heights Evergreen Cemetery to Hollywood Forever Cemetery to Virgil Village and South LA. I drove around on Election Day and the day after, documenting ofrendas and memorials on 35mm film, while reflecting on a difficult year.

Andres Guardado ofrenda
Flowers for Andres Guardado in Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Evergreen Cemetery in Boyle Heights
Evergreen Cemetery in Boyle Heights
Evergreen Cemetery in Boyle Heights
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Virgil Village memorial
The remnants of an altar in MacArthur Park
Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery in South LA
Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City
Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery in South LA
Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery in South LA
Virgil Village memorial
Virgil Village





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