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Family members approach the altar set up in the memory of Cabrera Lopez. Family, friends and community members gathered for a memorial walk and celebration of life in honor of Ana Gabriela Cabrera Lopez on Oct. 23, 2020, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

Ana Gabriela Cabrera Lopez’s family was overwhelmed by the recognition of their daughter, cousin and friend during a memorial walk honoring Cabrera’s life on Oct. 23. Cabrera’s cousin, Lili Orozco, said the event was bittersweet. 

“It’s just that we’ve somewhat become accustomed to accepting the fact that she’s not going to come back, so coming here... just brought a rush of emotions,” she said.

Cabrera, a former University of Georgia housing employee, died on July 24, just six days after testing positive for COVID-19. The University of Georgia never specifically confirmed Cabrera was the housing member who died from the virus, citing privacy concerns.

The walk began in front of Brumby Hall, where Cabrera worked. About 30 participants walked to the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building on North Campus, where a banner hung honoring Cabrera’s life and dream of moving to Chicago.

The banner was created by local Latinx artist Kimberly Perez. Perez said she designed the banner to include things that Cabrera loved in life and what she hoped to achieve in the future. 

The walk ended at Casa Amarilla, where participants placed notes, flowers and photos on an altar.

UGA student Jessica Martinez translated all of the speeches during the event. Martinez didn’t know Cabrera, but she felt called to honor her life in this small way, she said.

“I think that people of color, specifically women of color, are more vulnerable. They have the least amount of options to say that I’m coming or I’m not coming to work and to be exposed to these very dangerous situations,” Martinez said. “I think that the university didn’t do much to honor her life, so I felt compelled as a community member of UGA to do something about it to honor her life and her family.”