Early Friday morning, the sounds of trumpets and young voices rang through Barrio Anita, as students and staff from Davis Bilingual Elementary Magnet School marched through their neighborhood to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day.
The labor leader, along with activist Dolores Huerta, formed the United Farm Workers of America in 1962, part of his lifelong work to bring collective bargaining rights, minimum wage and safer working conditions to farm workers.
Friday, March 31 would have been the 96th birthdaynot only is this day celebrated by labor activists, but it’s viewed as an important commemorative holiday throughout the nation’s Latino community.
“This march is really important. Especially in Tucson, it’s one of the march’s that stayed consistent. Since before the Mexican American studies was eliminated in TUSD,” said Alexandro Salo-Escamilla, a guest speaker for Davis Elementary’s Csar Chvez Day event.
“They have been doing this march, and they have been doing is since.”
Chvez, known for his labor work in California was a native Arizonan, born in Yuma in 1927.
Pima County Justice for All held larger “Stop the Hate” march and rally Saturday, March 18the event was well-attended by local officials Rep. Raul Grijalva, Mayor Regina Romero, Supervisor Adelita Grijalva and County Attorney Laura Conover.
City serviceswith the exception of emergency servicesare closed today.
Ward 2 Councilman Paul Cunningham writes that it was thanks to Chvez that attention was drawn to the exploitative way farm workers have historically been treateddespite the fact their work make life as we know it in the U.S. possible.
“Instead of making this a day of rest, city employees are being encouraged to do service in the community,” Cunningham explained. “For the second year in a row, my staff and I will be volunteering at Casa Maria, a Catholic Worker House in South Tucson that serves the homeless community.”
“Whether or not you get the day off, please take some time out of your day to remember Csars work and think about what you can do in the community,” writes Cunningham.