Mar 212011
Authors: Zulema Sierra

CSU and the city of Fort Collins are proudly honoring the legacy of Cesar Chavez through a week-long celebration of music, food, guest speakers, theatrical productions, spoken word, film and recognition beginning March 24.

Cesar Chavez gained immense strides in civil rights and labor rights for many people in this nation. He successfully founded the first farm workers union in United States history, United Farm Workers of America (UFW). Through non-violent boycotts, pilgrimages, demonstrations and strikes, Chavez achieved fair wages, pension benefits, medical coverage and humane living conditions along with numerous other rights and protections for farm workers and migrant farm workers. Chavez’s humble leadership encouraged people to peacefully fight for social change.

This year’s events will highlight the theme “Human Dignity and Spirit through Resistance, Endurance and Empowerment.”
On March 24, the Annual CSU Apartment Life Cesar Chavez Celebration will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. at the International House Lobby. This event will include food, music, slide show, trivia games and a special guest speaker, Guadalupe Salazar, director of El Centro.

On March 28, a live webcast titled “Latino Education & Advocacy Days,” will feature several guest speakers including Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan. The event will be in the Grey Rock Room of Lory Student Center from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Following the webcast, a screening of the film “Walkout” will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theatre. The film is directed by Edward James Olmos and is a stirring, true story of courage and justice. At the height of the national civil-rights movement, Paula Crisostomo is an idealistic honor student in a school system that discriminates against Mexican-Americans.

Together with thousands of supporters she coordinates a multi-school walkout of students to protest academic prejudices. Paula learns that sometimes the price of progress is high — but it’s ultimately a price worth paying. The film will be followed by a Q& A facilitated by Rich Salas, associate director of El Centro/Greek Life and Professor Norberto Valdez.
A true delight will be the theatrical presentation by Teatro Milagro of the play “Duende de Lorca” on Tuesday, March 29, at 7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theatre. Federico Garcia Lorca is celebrated the world over for his passionate, avant-garde poetry, music and plays. His need for freedom fueled his desire to succeed, and his travels through New York and Cuba quickly became a quest for cultural integration and acceptance. In the Americas, Lorca shone like a mad and fiery diamond, fusing his cante jondo with Afro-Cuban son to create a new rhythm of powerfully poetic drama.

“Cultura Atravez de Arte” on March 30 will take place in the Lory Student Center Commons from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Presented by Sigma Lambda Beta, La Raza and Campus Activities, “Cultura Atravez de Arte” translates to Culture through Art. This event will celebrate the life of Cesar Chavez through music, dance and spoken word and will educate the CSU and Fort Collins communities about social justice and Latino culture.

The Cesar Chavez day celebration will be concluded with the Community Celebration and High School Awards on March 31 at 5:30 p.m. in the Main Ballroom of the Lory Student Center. This grand finale will be a night of food, entertainment and recognition. The life and legacy of Cesar Chavez will be celebrated with spoken word poetry, live music and reflections on the life and work of Cesar Chavez presented by CSU students. One of the highlights of the night will be recognition of high school students from the Poudre School District who are living the legacy of Cesar Chavez.

All events are free and everyone is welcome.

Zulema Sierra is the El Centro program coordinator at CSU.

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