The following comes from a December 1 LA Times article by Makeda Easter and Jon Schleuss:
About 200 people streamed down a small hill in Boyle Heights on Wednesday to mourn more than 1,400 of Los Angeles County’s unclaimed dead.
Each year the county buries the cremated remains of those left at the cemetery for more than two years.
“To think 1,400 can go unclaimed is mind-boggling,” said Rita Hall, who attended the event. “Nobody misses you or searches for you, that’s sad.”
This year more than 900 of those buried were men. About 400 were women. More than 120 were babies.
The large crowd circled a single mass gravesite above the intersection of 1st and Lorena streets. Teal sheets surrounded the fresh earth and flowers stood at one end like the headboard of a bed. Nearby, other communal graves were marked by a simple plaque, about the size of a hand, that was engraved with their year of their cremation.
Some graves are decorated with flowers; others with colorful glass stones and toys. Families add these ornaments after learning that their loved ones are buried in a mass grave at the cemetery.
Brihanna Adkins was buried this year. She was 10 months and 26 days old when she died of a methadone overdose. Her death was ruled a homicide. There’s also Isaiah Dean, only 1 month and 13 days, when he died of diarrhea in a hospital. Terrance McKenna died at 45 of an overdose in a stairwell. Joseph Gerber, 26, hanged himself in jail in July 2013. The list goes on.
“We gather to honor, to pause, to be still, to sing,” Father Chris Ponnet said. “We pause in this sacred space.” Following Ponnet’s remarks, various interfaith spiritual leaders took time to honor the dead. There was a Jewish and Christian prayer, Hindu and Buddhist chant, Native blessing and a reading of Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise.”