Mesa College Events Celebrates the Life of Cesar E. Chavez

San Diego Mesa College will host a two-day celebration of the life and spirit of Mexican American labor activist and leader of the United Farm Workers Cesar E. Chavez on March 28 and 29, 2007. This year’s theme focuses on labor rights and environmental justice. Activities include film screenings and discussions; guest speakers, Director of Education for the Chavez Education Institute Sonia Hernandez, and Mesa College Professor Emeritus and award-winning author Cesar Gonzalez; a silent processional; and student performances. Chavez would have turned 80 on March 31, 2007.

The celebration begins on Wednesday, with an on-campus screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary, “Fighting for Our Lives,” at 8:00 a.m. in LRC 435, followed at 9:30 a.m. by an eye-opening documentary entitled “Wrath of Grapes.” The day concludes with an early evening screening of “Bread and Roses” starring Oscar -winning actor, Adrien Brody, that begins at 6:30 p.m. in Building G-107. Panel and/or group discussions will follow each file.

On Thursday, March 29, speakers and entertainers will fill the day. The festivities will begin at 9:30 a.m. in LRC 435, as guest speaker, Sonia Hernandez, Director of Education for the Chavez Education Institute. The Institute addresses the needs of students in elementary and secondary schools by providing them with after-school services in all academic areas.

From there, the celebration will move outdoors as participants will lead a silent procession from the Learning Resource Center to the Associated Student Stage. Various speakers and performances will follow on the stage including: an audio/video recording of the movement speech by Cesar E. Chavez, guest speaker and founding chair of the Mesa College Chicano Studies Program Professor Emeritus Cesar Gonzalez will speak and a group of Mesa College students will perform an “acto” entitled “Los Vendidos.” Actos are dramatic skits designed for classroom use in studying Hispanic American history and contemporary themes. The skits will highlight the issue of identity and stereotypes given to the Chicano community by society and how the community reacts to them.

On Saturday March 31, Mesa College students, faculty and staff will participate in the Cesar E. Chavez Community Parade and the following celebration at Cesar E. Chavez Park. The Community Parade will begin at 10:00 a.m. on the corner of Cesar E. Chavez Parkway and Harrison Avenue and concluding at Cesar E. Chavez Park. The Community Celebration will last from 12 noon until 4:00 p.m. The last scheduled Chavez celebration event is the commemorative breakfast at the San Diego Convention Center on Monday April 2, at 7:00 a.m.

The Mesa College Cesar E. Chavez celebration and events are sponsored by the college’s Chicano Studies Program. For more information, contact Cesar Lopez at 619-388-2368 or Community events are sponsored by the San Diego Cesar Chavez Committee;