Sac State gives notice to Cesar Chavez

Vu Chau

Associated Students, Inc.; Serna Center; and the College Assistance Migrant Program have collaborated to host a series of events on Sacramento State campus to commemorate the legacy of labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, starting on March 7.

Every March, the university pays tribute to Chavez by closing the campus for one day to celebrate the activist’s work with the Mexican-American community on issues of farmworkers rights, social justice and civic engagements.

“He’s important to the Sac State community, so we think it’s important that we educate students about what Cesar Chavez accomplished in his life time, why we celebrate Cesar Chavez day, and why we observe it,” said ASI president Melissa Bardo.

Instead of just hosting a one-day event like previous years, this year’s celebration will last one week starting on Monday, March 7.

The series of events will begin with “Leave a Legacy, Leave a Book.”

There will be a booth in the University Union lobby from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. throughout the week that allows the public to donate new or used books to support literacy for children in migrant camps, according to ASI.

On Tuesday at 5 p.m., a screening of the 2014 biopic film titled “Cesar Chavez” will be shown inside the Hinde Auditorium, and a discussion on the film will be held afterward.

On Wednesday in the library quad, a few campus organizations and departments will offer students opportunities to learn more about existing resources and support networks on campus.

To end the week, Andres Chavez, grandson of Cesar Chavez, will give a keynote address to the campus community on Thursday, inside the Union Redwood Room.

Following the speech will be a panel discussion by leaders from the local farmworker community.

Undeclared freshman Carolina Valencia said she will participate in the weeklong tribute by donating her old books to the “Leave a Legacy, Leave a Book” book drive.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to give the books away because I don’t read them anymore,” Valencia said. “I think other kids will find them useful rather than just not being used at my house.”

Valencia thinks that stretching the event to one week will bring out more participants.

A-Team Community Service Events Coordinator Madison Hall has the same view as Valencia.

“[ASI, Serna Center and CAMP] wanted to create an event that would be a little bit more inclusive and accessible with the entire campus community,” Hall said. “It’s just because we think that a lot of people don’t know about Cesar Chavez and his legacy and so we really aim this year’s events to add educating to a larger scale.”

CAMP’s Academic and Outreach Adviser Griselda Casillas, hopes that “Cesar Chavez Week” will highlight social issues that Chavez had worked hard to bring to the forefront of conversations.

“Through these events, we want students to understand what the farmworkers’ community has overcome, what are our current struggles, and how [students] can be involved with facilitating this movement,” Casillas said.

Bardo also believes that it is important for the Sac State community to take it upon itself to understand the experiences of other communities.

She also hopes that Cesar Chavez Week will help raise awareness of the activist’s legacy to another level.

“[Cesar Chavez Week] is not just about limiting it to the Mexican-American community but rather sharing it with our whole greater community, the legacy Cesar Chavez left behind,” Bardo said.