Day of the Dead celebration honors Fresno youth gone too soon

FRESNO, Calif. - A Day of the Dead ceremony honored young lives lost too soon.

Young people taken by violence, illness, or accident were remembered Wednesday at Arte Americas.

"Cherish your loved ones, cherish your life, live life and just enjoy it," said Kieshaun White, brother of Deondre Howard, a Fresno City College baseball player murdered in 2015.

"He was shot and killed right outside my house," said white.

Howard, a rising star at Edison High School was loved by many.
A statue in his honor was unveiled at the school this year, keeping his memory alive.

White joined dozens of others in remembering young lives cut short.

The Fresno Boys and Men of Color set up an alter with images of the deceased flanked by flowers and mementos.

Families like that of 18 year old Neng Thao, where in attendance to reflect.

The Edison High School valedictorian died in May.

He accidentally drowned in the San Joaquin River.

"He was an advocate. He served his community," said Sher Moua, Manager of the Fresno Boys and Men of color.

He said people like Thao should be remembered for what they accomplished in their short lives.

"We want to honor his memory as well as the memory of folks who made an impact," said Moua.

"He always said he wanted to be mayor," said Marco Sanchez, friend of Neng Thao.

He spoke for Thao's family who wanted to mourn in peace.

He admires his friend for the role he played as a member of the Fresno Youth Commission, working alongside Fresno City Council.

"A person willing to stand up and give a voice to others," said Sanchez.

Although the day of remembrance will pass, people like Kieshon White, said their loved ones will never be forgotten.

"If you really love someone, and you really care about that person, grieving never ends," said White.

The alter for the Fresno Boys and Men of color will come down Thursday.

The Artes Americas Day of the Dead exhibit will run through the end of the year.

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