It is with tender hearts that we honor our beloved Elias 'Tat' Corral, who passed away from colon cancer on September 16th, 2017 at the age of 39.
Tat's contributions to our organization and community are immeasurable. He is well known for supporting arts organizing efforts in Little Village; he was a founding member of Villarte, the arts collective that held the first Little Village Arts Fest in 2006, and he coined the name Villapalooza for the local music festival that now boasts tens of thousands of attendees each year. He also dedicated more than a decade of his life to the growth of Enlace Community Schools at the Little Village Lawndale High School Campus (LVLHS).
Tat’s work at LVLHS went beyond coordinating programs and services. He made time to build meaningful relationships with his colleagues, school staff, partners, and peers. He was a father figure and mentor to so many young people. He was intentional about building a positive school culture and creating safe spaces that promoted the arts, encouraged dreaming big, broke people out of their shells, supported subcultures, included those who felt excluded, and built the kind of friendships that last lifetimes. Tat was a proud geek with an infectious love of Star Wars and comic books. He made it cool to be weird, and made everyone feel comfortable being themselves.
For Tat, there was no creative project that was not worth exploring and, almost to a fault, he never said “no” to a young person who came to him excited about an idea. On any given day, while he was busy coordinating out-of-school programs for hundreds of youth and adults, you could find him melting plastic into molds in the parent room microwave, printing shirts in the storage room, making posters for wheat pasting, shooting rockets for a science class, dancing in a Care Bear costume, or hauling sound equipment to a Phoenix Open Mic Night. Such was his endless passion for creative community building.
Tat is a member of our Enlace family, and we love him more than words can say. Certain people live forever...in our hearts, and in our memories. Tat was one of those. He had the qualities that are inherent to good human beings who make a real difference in the lives they touch: love, compassion, empathy, reciprocity, honesty, and the ability to look for the best in everyone.
Tat leaves behind his beautiful wife Grace and his adorable three-year-old daughter Audrey. He also leaves an unmatched legacy of community leadership.
Thank you, Tata.
We hold you in our heart forever.