Migrant Farm Worker Supporter Cesar Chavez to be Honored by Colorado State March 26-30

The life and work of Cesar Chavez, who was a champion for migrant workers’ rights, will be honored with a series of events at Colorado State University and in Fort Collins.

The 2007 Cesar Chavez Day Celebration, "A Tribute Through Art & Music: Social Justice – Our Responsibility," will take place March 26-30.

The events, which will include dance performances, film screenings and speakers on immigration, will focus on the issues confronting migrant farm workers. All events are free.

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 cause of migrant workers.

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."

A list of events follows.

– March 1-29: A clothing drive will benefit Northern Colorado migrant workers. Items that can be donated include shirts, jeans, jackets, sweatshirts, boots, shoes, linens and children’s clothing. Drop-off locations are the City Parks and Recreation Building, 413 S. Bryan St.; the Longs Peak Center of Front Range Community College, 4616 S. Shields St.; and the following locations on the CSU campus: Morgan Library, Lory Student Center, residence halls and on-campus apartment complexes.

– 7 p.m. March 26, Northside Aztlan Community Center, 112 E. Willow in Fort Collins: "Fighting for Our Lives," a film portraying the United Farm Workers’ 1973 strike, will be shown. Before the film, Norberto Valdez, associate professor in anthropology, will speak on "Cesar Chavez, Bosses, Immigrants, and Unions: Myths and Realities." A discussion will follow the film.

– Noon March 27, Lory Student Center Theatre: The film "Walkout," directed by Edward James Olmos, will be shown. "Walkout" highlights the true story of the Chicano students of East Los Angeles who in 1968 staged several dramatic high school walkouts to protest academic prejudice and poor school conditions.

– 7 p.m. March 27, Lory Student Center Theatre: "Papi, Me and Cesar Chavez," a live performance by Denver based theatre troupe Su Teatro, will chronicle the United Farm Workers’ Union’s historic march to the state capitol in Sacramento, Calif. as seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old.

– 1 p.m. March 28, Rooms 213-215 Lory Student Center: "Colorado Farm Workers, Past and Present: Have Things Improved?" will be presented by Chuck Solano and Kimi Jackson. Solano, who was a migrant farm worker, will discuss the lifestyle and conditions faced by his generation of farm workers. Jackson, an attorney for farm workers in Colorado, will share information about the trend toward guest worker visas and the prevalence of involuntary servitude and human trafficking.

– 4 p.m. March 28, Lory Student Center Commons: "Student Reflections Through Art & Music on Cesar Chavez" will include student reflections on the impact and legacy of Chavez.

– Noon March 29, Lory Student Center Commons: "Immigration: Impacts of Current Legislation," a panel discussion, will focus on the controversial issue of immigration.

– 5:30 p.m. March 29, Lory Student Center East Ballroom: "Cesar Chavez Day Celebration: A Tribute" includes dancing by Quetzalcoatl, music by Grupo Aztlan and presentation of "Cesar Chavez Awards" to local high-school students. Free food, children’s activities and displays about Cesar Chavez and migrant workers created by Colorado State students will be available throughout the evening.

– 7 p.m. March 29, Lory Student Center East Ballroom: Carlos Callejo, who has more than 30 years experience in coordinating and executing public arts projects, will discuss the inception of the Chicano mural art movement. Callejo has played a major role in more than 40 mural projects both nationally and internationally.

– 11:30 a.m. March 30, Lory Student Center Commons: The closing celebration, which focuses on a call to action, will include a music by children from Harris Bilingual School and a community march from the Lory Student Center to the Administration Building.

Colorado State sponsors for the celebration are Apartment Life, ASAP, Associated Students of Colorado State University, CSU Police Department, El Centro Student Services, Key Plus Community, Latino Greek Council, Lory Student Center, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Residence Hall Association, Resources for Disabled Students, Student Involvement & Activities, and the Vice President for Student Affairs Parents Fund. Fort Collins sponsors are Anheuser Busch, Consuelo’s Mexican Restaurant, Fort Collins Coloradoan, Fort Fund, Northside Aztlan Community Center, Pepsi, Poster It, Poudre High School and Poudre Valley Health Systems Foundation.

For more information about the 2007 Cesar Chavez Day Celebration, visit fc-cesarchavez.org or contact Mari Strombom at (970) 491-6921 or mari.strombom@colostate.edu.

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