LNESC Commemorates César E. Chávez Day
César Chávez Day is celebrated every March 31 to honor his legacy as a Mexican American labor leader and civil rights activist. The holiday was declared by President Barack Obama in 2014. Even though it is not a federal holiday, we celebrate the holiday by committing ourselves to a life of service and spending time with family and friends.
César Chávez’s life was built on a foundation of resilience. He was born on March 31, 1927, to a family of six children in Yuma, Arizona. The family moved to California after losing all of their livelihood during the Great Depression. He spent his youth in Northern California facing prejudice as a Mexican American, living in poverty, and working in adverse conditions as a child. The poverty, work conditions, and barriers to education led him to become deeply interested in social justice. As a result of his life experiences, he co-founded the United Farm Workers (UFW) with Dolores Huerta in 1962 after seeing the need for better rights for farmworkers in California.
Today, César Chávez Day is considered a day of service and learning as a tribute to the life and legacy of the co-founder of the UFW. The entirety of his life was steeped in social justice activism for la causa (the cause), which is the struggle of farmworkers in the United States to improve their working and living conditions through organizing. LNESC encourages everyone to participate in a service-learning activity or consider a volunteer project in which to dedicate your time and effort to show your support for your community. Together we can honor and be proud of the legacy of César Chávez. ¡Si Se Puede! “We need to help students and parents cherish and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens this community – and this nation.” – César E. Chávez
Cesar Chavez Books
An excellent way to have children understand the power of service is through reading a book that celebrates Cesar Chavez’s legacy. You can find a list of relevant books here. You can also find another list of books which include elementary-school level books focused on the Delano Grape Strike that Cesar Chavez led here.
The University of California Press has compiled the “Essential Cesar Chavez Day Reading List.” The publisher has compiled a list of books that shines a spotlight on the labor and civil rights leader. You can find the comprehensive list with embedded summaries on the context of the books here.
Cesar Chavez Activities
There are plenty of activities for educators, families, and students of all levels to learn more about his efforts to increase wages and living conditions for migrant workers. Twinkl not only outlines interactive activities such as videos and word searches, but also notes resources for ELA and Spanish-speaking students. You can find the list here.
You can be inspired by some creative ideas such painting a mural that honors his memory or visiting local murals to pay homage to the labor rights leader. You can also listen to the song that was known as the anthem of the United Farmworkers of America. You can find the link to explore the activities and ideas here.
Support the Labor Movementhere to donate or sign petitions on immigration reform or be part of a call to action to increase labor rights for senators. If you are looking to learn more about what other organizations are doing to assist them, please check out these 18 organizations that you can support and donate to during National Farmworker Awareness Week.Cesar Chávez co-founded The United Farmworkers organization with Dolores Huerta and you can find a page on their website that allows you to sign support of bills for farmworker rights. You can find the link