Remembering and Celebrating the Life of Cesar Chavez
Cesar Chavez Day is a time to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions one man made to society. But, like St. Patrick's Day in Chico, Cesar Chavez Day has become one where too many students focus their energy on drinking and forget why they are celebrating.
So, who is this Cesar Chavez who has a holiday in his honor?
Chavez was born on March 31, 1927 in Yuma, Arizona. After losing their farm during the Great Depression, the Chavez family became migrant farm workers.
Laboring in fields and vineyards as a young child, Chavez saw the hardships and inequalities inflicted on migrant farm workers. Although he did not go further than eighth grade in his schooling, he was well-read and educated himself in various areas of interest.
After serving in the Navy during World War II, Chavez strived to create a group that would protect the rights of farm workers.
In 1962, Chavez made his dream come true by forming what would eventually become the United Farm Workers of America. Using nonviolent tactics such as fasting, boycotts, strikes, and pilgrimages, Chavez led the organization to improving respect, wages, medical coverage, pension benefits, and humane living conditions for farm workers and their families.
After his death in 1993, the Chavez family created the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation to inform people about Chavez's life and work and to carry on the legacy and vision of this man.
So before you go out Thursday morning and drink your first margarita, remember Chavez's most popular slogan, si se puede ("Yes, it can be done"). It can be done-you can celebrate the life of a man who made a difference in a respectful and safe way. For information about ways of serving our community on Cesar Chavez Day, see the Diversity website: http://www.csuchico.edu/diversity/.
To view more information on Cesar E. Chavez or the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, visit http://www.chavezfoundation.org/.