Cesar Chavez’s Life and Work Celebrated by Colorado State University and Fort Collins Communities

In remembrance of Cesar Chavez’s dedication to fighting for improved conditions for the nation’s migrant workers, Colorado State University will host a celebration of his influential life and work on Friday, March 31.

"A Tribute: Social Justice – Our Responsibility," the 2006 Cesar Chavez Day celebration, begins at noon in the Sunken Lounge of the Lory Student Center on the Colorado State campus and continues throughout the day.

Events include a culmination of a citywide clothing drive to benefit migrant workers in Northern Colorado, activities for children and films and presentations about Chavez and his work.

Also featured will be appearances and presentations by Mayor Doug Hutchison, Colorado State Pres. Larry Edward Penley, graduate student Jesse Ramirez and former migrant farm worker Chuck Solano. The celebration also includes a showing of "The Fight in the Fields," the first film to cover the life of Cesar Chavez and the history of the farm workers.

     Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association, now called the United Farm Workers, in 1956 to support the rights of migrant workers. One of his most famous actions came in 1965 when he led a strike of grape-pickers in California in a demand for higher wages. This and other non-violent protests brought awareness to the migrant worker’s cause.

     Although Chavez died in 1993, communities throughout America continue to celebrate his legacy and seek social justice and civil rights for the working class society. In 2002, Colorado Senate designated March 31 as a legal holiday, "Cesar Chavez Day."

     Following is a schedule of events.

–     Noon: Celebration kickoff with films about Cesar Chavez in Colorado State’s Lory Student Center Sunken Lounge, a presentation on "The Life of a Migrant Farm Worker" by Chuck Solano in the Lory Student Center Commons and musical selections by students from Harris Bilingual Elementary School.

–     1 p.m.: March from the Lory Student Center to the university Oval in honor of the 40th anniversary of Cesar’s march from Delano to Sacramento, which was a protest for higher wages and better working conditions for the California grape pickers.

–     5 p.m.: Tribute to Cesar Chavez in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom. Fort Collins Mayor Doug Hutchison and Colorado State President Larry Edward Penely will start the event, which includes music by Grupo Aztlan; free "comida de migrantes," or "food of the migrants;" displays covering many aspects of the life of Cesar Chavez; and the culmination of the month-long clothing drive to benefit migrant workers in Northern Colorado. Activities will be available for children.

–     6 p.m.: "A poetic rendition of the Life and Times of Cesar Chavez: Can you still hear me?" by Jesse Ramirez in the Lory Student Center Cherokee Park room.

–     7:15 p.m.: Showing of the film, "The Fight in the Fields," in the Lory Student Center Theater. Director Ray Telles will lead a discussion with the audience following the film.

          Sponsors for "A Tribute: Social Justice – Our Responsibility" are Colorado State University departments and offices including Housing and Dining Services, Association for Student Activity Programming, El Centro Student Services, Live Life Late, Lory Student Center, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Parent’s Fund, Police Department and Residence Hall Association; and community sponsors including Consuelo’s Mexican Restaurant, Fort Collins Coloradoan, Fort Fund, Neighborhoods United, Northern Colorado Multicultural Corporation, Pepsi and Poudre Valley Health Systems Foundation.