Chavez Honored Throughout Valley
Valley Cities Host Special Events To Celebrate Labor Leader’s Life
BY MARIO CONDE & CHRIS FURGUSON
Cesar Chavez has been recognized in many ways for his achievements in favor of the farm workers and how he triumphed against all adversity that was put in front of him and the United Farm Workers.
On Thursday, March 30, there was a Cesar Chavez Film Night and Art Gallery at the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center where they showed the documentary film “Fighting For Our Lives”, an Oscar nominated portrayal of the UFW’s 1973 strike.
Event organizer Ivan Soto said the document shows what farm workers went through during the strike that turned violent against them in a time where farm workers didn’t have a contract.
“I always thought films are a powerful way of engaging conversation and this film is a good starting point to look at the work the UFW and see the stories of resistance and struggles that we still see today and start a dialogue about it,” Soto mentioned. “The message still resonates today because it’s not only the latino community. We have to partner with other groups since our issues are intertwined and we need to bring different people to the table to make it happen.”
The Cesar Chavez march took place early Saturday, April 1st, as people proudly marched and chanted the name of the late Cesar Chavez and his well known phrase “Si Se Puede!”
The Calexico event was organized by the Neighborhood House Cesar Chavez Committee who put together this event for the first time in many years. Local unions marched to remember Chavez and his legacy and accomplishments.
Union leader and labor organizer Cesar Chavez was born March 31, 1927, in Yuma, Arizona. Chavez dedicated his life to improving the treatment, pay and working conditions for farm workers.
The march in Calexico started at site known as “El Hoyo”, walked all of Second Street, and ended up at Rockwood Park where there was a ceremony in memory of Cesar Chavez.
Meanwhile, in the city of Brawley…
On April 1, 2017, the downtown area of Brawley hosted an all-day celebration of the life of Cesar Chavez complete with a car show, a series of concerts and recognition of local community volunteers.
The all-day event was organized by members of the Hidalgo Society, who have been hosting the celebration for ten years.
The portion of Main Street in Brawley that goes through the central “plaza” area was closed to through traffic for the day to help with the celebration.
The day actually began at the Cattle Call Arena Park, where a 5k walk/run event took place to benefit the Anthony Garcia Foundation, a scholarship fund founded in the name of a former BUHS Wildcat football player.
This year, more than 110 people participated in a combination fun walk, 5k and 10k run around the park, raising money for the scholarship fund. Since it’s founding nearly six years ago, the AG Foundation has raised and distributed over $35,000 in scholarships to Valley high school seniors.
After the walk, the downtown area was the setting for an all-day, multiple club car show hosted by Aztlan Valle Imperial, one of several car clubs in the county.
Clubs from throughout the Southwestern United States, including San Diego, Coachella and Yuma Counties, came to the Brawley Plaza area to showcase their cars for prizes of up to $1,000.
After the car show, several local groups and musicians performed on a makeshift stage on the eastern portion of the plaza, including local ballet folklorico dancers from the Hidalgo Society in their traditional Guadalajaran costumes.
As the sun set on the evening, the featured musicians began playing, starting with a super group of musicians from the Imperial Valley, along with Los Angeles-based recording artist Rocky Padilla and his group.
Additionally, three locals were honored by the Hidalgo Society for their years of volunteer service and assistance within the Imperial Valley. This year’s honorees were John Hernandez, for his work in advancing the causes of senior citizens, Carlos and Erica Weir, for their constant help with fundraisers at their “Las Chabelas” restaurant location, and Oliver Gastelum, a frequent volunteer with local youth sports programs among other activities.
“These community members represent the words of Cesar Chavez of Service to others,” said Eric Reyes prior to the celebration.
This was the 13th annual Cesar Chavez celebration in the city of Brawley. The first celebration, held in 2005 at the Cattle Call Arena, brought Mexican musician Lupillo Rivera to the town for a special concert.