Mar 302010
Authors: Allison Welter

After toiling away in the fields into her eighth month of pregnancy, surrounded by grape leaves coated in pesticides, a working mother gave birth to a child with no arms and no legs.

This story was shared at “Nuestras Canciones,” or “Our Songs,” a concert held in the Lory Student Center Theater Tuesday night to honor the legacy of civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, who worked to end the overuse of pesticides.

The concert was compiled of music from the times of Chavez and authentic text. Amid the upbeat and authentic Chicano music were quotes from Chavez and his movement. It is only a small part of a weeklong celebration of Chavez’s works.

Chavez was active in civil rights, the labor and farm unions, environmental and consumer issues and in 1994, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his accomplishments. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor a civilian in America can receive.

“I believe Chavez left us a strong and powerful example of how one person can make a positive difference in creating a better world for all to live in,” Rich Salas, assistant director of El Centro, said in an e-mail to the Collegian.

Though Chavez passed away in 1993, the issues he fought for are still relevant today, and more importantly, they are relevant to everyone, said Salas, a co-chair for CSU Cesar Chavez Planning Committee.

“His legacy resulted in a whole generation of dedicated idealistic people in the streets, in the fields and on campuses carrying out his work,” said Norberto Valdez, an associate professor of Anthropology and Ethnic Studies.

Tonight, in celebration of Chavez’s birthday, the LSC will be host to the Cesar Chavez Day Community Celebration. In conjunction with the celebration of his legacy, there will be entertainers and free food in the LSC Main Ballroom.

Lance Wright, director of Campus Activities, recommended students attend the event because of its great educational value about the legacy of Chavez as a civil rights and labor rights hero.

“All too often its thought that civil rights is a historical issue,” said Wright, a co-chair for CSU Cesar Chavez Planning Committee. “People are still pursuing and fighting for civil rights.”

Colorado is one of four states to recognize Chavez’s birthday as a holiday and Fort Collins continues to honor his legacy as a Mexican-American activist through its annual celebration.

Staff writer Allison Welter can be reached at

When: Tonight, 6 p.m.
Where: Lory Student Main Ballroom

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