Fort Collins and Colorado State University Celebrate the Legacy of Cesar Chavez

The community of Fort Collins will join together to celebrate Cesar Chavez and his work for social justice with a variety of events running March 29-31. The Cesar Chavez celebration will culminate March 31 with a performance of the play, "Papi, Me and Cesar Chavez," by Su Teatro theatre company at 6 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

The performance will be preceded by "Comida de Migrantes," a free meal representative of a typical migrant meal. The meal, which will be from 5-5:45 p.m. in the LSC Art Lounge, will include burritos from Consuelo’s restaurant.

The celebration also will include a photography exhibition, information displays and music from Grupo Aztlan. All events are free and open to the public.

In 1956, Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association to support the rights of migrant workers, and the name of the organization was eventually changed to the United Farm Workers. In 1965, Chavez and the NFWA led a strike of California grape pickers to demand higher wages and encouraged all Americans to boycott table grapes as a show of support.

In 1968, Chavez began a fast to call attention to the migrant workers’ cause, and in 1973 the UFW organized a strike for higher wages from lettuce growers. These and other non-violent actions brought visibility to social injustice and the plight of migrant farm workers. Chavez built numerous coalitions to help people of all ethnicities and cultures.

In 1966, strikers marched 340 miles from Delano, Calif., to Sacramento. The group, which started with about 70 people, swelled to 10,000 as workers and supporters joined the march on its way to Sacramento. Every evening, a California troupe called El Teatro Campesino performed for demonstrators on the back of a flatbed truck. Today, Su Teatro theater company continues the same agriprop tradition to tell the story of Cesar Chavez and their historical pilgrimage for social justice in "Papi, Me and Cesar Chavez."  The story is told through music and with the passion of the times as seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl. Su Teatro has existed for more than 30 years and continues to captivate and educate audiences across the country.

Chavez died 11 years ago, but communities across the country continue to celebrate his legacy. Below is a schedule of events planned at Colorado State.

Through March 31

– Clothing drive to benefit migrant workers in Northern Colorado. Drop-off locations include Colorado State University, Poudre Valley Hospital, city of Fort Collins offices and Front Range Community College.

Monday, March 29 – Friday, April 16

– "Gracias," a photography exhibition by Celia Roberts in the Lory Student Center Art Lounge.

Monday, March 29 – Wednesday, March 31      

– Information displays and interaction opportunities in the Lory Student Center Sunken Lounge.

Wednesday, March 31

– Noon – Mini-performance of "Papi, Me and Cesar Chavez" at the city of Fort Collins’ Community Room, 215 N. Mason St.

– 5-5:45 p.m. – "Comida de Migrantes" and music from Grupo Aztlan in the Lory Student Center Art Lounge.

– 6 p.m. – Performance of "Papi, Me and Cesar Chavez" by Su Teatro in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

Event sponsors include the city of Fort Collins Human Rights Resource and Education Office, Colorado State University, Colorado Injury Control Research Center, Consuelo’s Mexican Restaurant, Dandelion Moving and Storage, Fort Collins Coloradoan, Front Range Community College Larimer Campus, KRFC 88.9, New Belgium Brewery, Northern Colorado Multicultural Corporation, Poudre School District, Poudre Valley Health System Foundation and Alma Vigo-Morales.

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