Colorado State University will join the Fort Collins community to host a weeklong celebration honoring Mexican-American activist Cesar Chavez beginning March 24. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Human Dignity and Spirit through Resistance, Endurance and Empowerment,” and events include films, theater productions and other activities.
Chavez died in 1993, but his legacy is honored with the annual commemoration of his birthday on March 31, which is a holiday in four U.S. states including Colorado.
The celebration kicks off Thursday, March 24, with an annual Apartment Life Cesar Chavez Celebration from 6-7:10 p.m. in the International House Lobby. Events feature speaker Guadalupe Salazar, food, music and a slide show.
On Monday, March 28, the community is invited to a live webcast of “Latino Education and Advocacy Days” featuring U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. in the Grey Rock Room in the Lory Student Center. For information, contact Norma Huerta- Kelley at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rich Salas at email@example.com.
Also featured March 28 is a screening of the film “Walkout,” directed by actor Edward James Olmos, at 6:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theater. The film, set in 1968, takes place during the height of the national Civil Rights Movement. Together with thousands of supporters, Paula Crisostomo, an idealistic honor student who refuses to play it safe in a school system that discriminates against Mexican-Americans, coordinates a multi-school walkout of students to protest academic prejudices. Mentored by her charismatic teacher, Sal Castro, and with help of her boyfriend, Bobby, Paula learns that sometimes the price of progress is high – but it’s ultimately worth paying. The film will be followed by a question-and-answer session facilitated by Rich Salas and Norberto Valdez.
On March 29, Teatro Milagro will present the stage production, “Duende de Lorca,” a portrayal of the life of Federico García Lorca. The play will be performed at 7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theater. At the age of 27, Lorca was a struggling artist living with his parents and writing puppet plays that were laughed off the stage by critics. He is now celebrated 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 succeeded in fusing his cante jondo with Afro-Cuban son to create a new rhythm of powerfully poetic drama. A question-and-answer session will follow with artistic director Danel Malan and staff from the Women and Gender Advocacy Center.
On Wednesday, March 30, La Raza, Sigma Lambda Beta, and Campus Activities will present "Cultura atravez del Arte", from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the LSC Commons. The life of Cesar Chavez will be celebrated through music, dance and spoken word.
The week’s events will end at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31, with the Cesar Chavez Celebration and High School Awards in the Lory Student Center Main Ballrooms. The celebration and awards include a night of food, entertainment and recognition celebrating the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez with spoken word poetry, live music and reflections presented by CSU students. Also, Poudre School District high school students who are living the legacy of Cesar Chavez will be recognized. Fort Collins Mayor Doug Hutchinson is scheduled to read the Cesar Chavez Proclamation.
Chavez was a union organizer and social activist of the 1960s. John F. Kennedy called him "one of the heroic figures of our time." The son of migrant laborers, Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) and later the United Farm Workers (UFW). He led a five-year nonviolent boycott against California grape growers, protesting poor working conditions and the use of pesticides harmful to farm workers.
All events are free and open to the public. Free parking is available after 4 p.m. in most A, Z and LSC meter lots. More information is available at www.fc-cesarchavez.org.