Fort Collins will spend the next week celebrating the life and accomplishments of Cesar Chavez.
CSU, the city of Fort Collins, Poudre Valley Health Systems, Poudre School District and Front Range Community College will join in a cooperative effort to recognize Chavez.
Chavez was a migrant worker in California in the 1930s. He began to notice the need for better treatment of migrant workers from all backgrounds. In 1956, he formed the National Farm Workers Association and later changed the name to United Farm Workers. Chavez and the UFW led a strike to demand higher wages for migrant farm workers in 1965. Chavez, who died 10 years ago, is widely known for his peaceful protests.
“Cesar Chavez was dedicated to non-violent means of getting his message across,” said Kris Folsom, marketing director for the Lory Student Center.
Events will take place at CSU and around Fort Collins beginning today and ending with a tribute to Chavez on his birthday, March 31, featuring several speakers and a migrant worker panel in the Lory Student Center Commons.
“It’s an opportunity for the community to celebrate an individual who really was a strong leader for social justice,” Folsom said. There will also be a clothing drive to benefit local migrant workers. Clothing drop boxes will be open until Sunday at Poudre Valley Hospital, Fort Collins Public Libraries, Hewlett Packard, Front Range Community College, the Fort Collins Human Rights Office, El Centro, all residence halls on campus, the University Counseling Center and the Campus Activities Center.
“We’re pretty much just trying to get clothing that people don’t want that’s not in really bad shape,” said Stacy Coleman, a member of the Cesar Chavez Day Planning Committee and an ASCSU senator from the College of Liberal Arts. “When (migrant workers) work in the fields, they get sprayed with pesticides; they need something to change into.”
Coleman hopes more people continue to get involved in remembering Chavez through the events planned.
“His move was for social justice for everyone,” Coleman said. “We’ve got different things planned, not just at CSU, but out in the community.”
Kimberly Martinez, a patient service representative in the emergency room at Poudre Valley Hospital, is a member of the PVH Diversity Awareness Committee. They are planning a video and discussion with Kimi Jackson of Student Legal Services about Chavez’s endeavors. Jackson has worked extensively representing migrant workers.
“Not a lot of people understand about the contributions of Cesar Chavez,” Martinez said. “We’re hoping next year we’ll be able to expand his tribute.”
Martinez admires Chavez for standing up for what he believed in.
“He tried really hard to do the right thing when the right thing was really right to do,” Martinez said. “He stood up for causes that didn’t just affect Mexicans. A lot of other ethnic groups benefited from his work.”
Zoraida Medina, sophomore apparel and merchandising and Spanish student at CSU, is creating a mural in honor of Chavez to be displayed and added to on Sunday at Braiden Hall. The mural will feature the UWF flag with workers and the sun rising over the fields. Above the flag will be two hands worn from work.
“It’s kind of like symbolizing, ‘look at my hard work,'” Medina said. “I just think that history is really important; this is a great way to let people know what is going on.”
Rich Salas, assistant director for El Centro Student Services, is hoping to educate people at CSU and around Fort Collins about Chavez’s life.
“We want to try to increase awareness, we’re doing all these things aimed at education,” Salas said. “It takes time to get the life of someone like Cesar Chavez recognized.”
Calendar for Cesar Chavez Celebrations
Monday, March 24
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Cesar Chavez Education Tables sponsored by Lamda Theta Nu, Inc in the Lory Student Center Sunken Lounge
1:00 p.m. – Video and discussion with Dr. Patricia Vigil sponsored by Sigma Lamda Gamma, Inc. in the Lory Student Center Art Lounge
Tuesday, March 25
6:30 p.m.- Bi-lingual tour of the Fort Collins Public Library
7:00 p.m. – Cesar Chavez video sponsored by Human Rights Resource and Education Office in the Ben Delatour Room at Fort Collins Public Library
Wednesday, March 26
4:30 to 6:30 p.m. – Video and discussion with Kimi Jackson sponsored by Poudre Valley Health Systems in Caf/ F of the Poudre Valley Hospital
7:00 p.m. – Lecture by Ellen Ochoa, Ph.D, first Latina NASA astronaut, sponsored by CSU Women and Minorities in Engineering in the Main Ballroom at Lory Student Center
Thursday, March 27
12:00 p.m. – “Cesar Chavez” video sponsored by El Centro Student Services at El Centro Student Services
6:30 p.m. – “Troubled Harvest” video sponsored by Amigos de la Casa Romero at the Romero House Streets Facilities, 625 9th St.
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – Multicultural book series featuring Albuquerque by Rodolfo Anaya, sponsored by Human Rights Resource and Education Office and Jade Creek Books at Jade Creek Books
Sunday, March 30
7:30 p.m. – Celebration of Cesar Chavez sponsored by Key Plus Student Organization including creation of a mural, film “The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farm Workers’ Struggle,” simulation of the life of a farm worker, and pledge to fast for 24 hours in Braiden Hall
Monday, March 31
12:00 to 2:00 p.m. – Remembering Cesar Chavez including CSU student speakers, Mayor Ray Martinez, Dr. Ramon Del Castillo, Lalo Delgado and music by Grupo Aztlan in the Lory Student Center Commons
2:00 to 3:00 p.m. – Migrant worker presentation and panel in the Lory Student Center Commons
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