Zoraida “Ale” Reyes

1985 - 2014

A fearless mujer, who chose to celebrate her identity to the fullest. She was born in Heroica Zitacuaro, Michoacan, Mexico and as a child with her family migrated to Santa Ana, CA. Renowned in her familia and circle of friends as being sweet and humble, Zoraida truly touched everyone she met. Zoraida would say, “She was blessed with the love of Venus,” and indeed she was. Friends describe her as welcoming, calm, kind and funny.

To many, Zoraida was a true Santanera, spreading her roots, her politics, and touching many with her brilliance. Many of her close friends met her at Santa Ana College, as a member of MEChA, El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanos de Aztlan and later, Orange County Dream Team. She attended Century High School, SAC and UC Santa Barbara, where she was a gender studies major. It was at SAC, where she became politically active in the fight for the DREAM Act as an undocumented student.

Video by Luis Ramirez

Todos la miraban, and many threw challenges at her.

They stared and at times, tried to break her. But Zoraida, had a grand confidence in herself, the kind it takes ages to build up. Inspired by her favorite singer, Gloria Trevi, Zoraida in response, se soltaba el cabello y se vestia de reina. Her dear friend, Vanessa Castillo remembers her presence, “she loved Gloria Trevi and she would practice her day and night,” and remembers the first time she saw her perform at El Mexicanismo in Santa Ana. Indeed, todos la miraban porque era linda, y porque la admiran.

Zoraida leaves behind a community who will continue to fight for immigrant and trans-rights. La lucha sigue y podremos seguir luchando con la fuerza y sabiduria de su recuerdo en nuestras memorias. Let us remember her by loving ourselves, our femininity, to live and better our lives.

Let us love, let us pray, and let us forgive.