Tucson to Celebrate César Chávez Day

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César Chávez. (Courtesy of Ruben Reyez of the César Chávez Holiday Coalition in Tucson, Ariz.)

Southern Arizona can celebrate its Latino culture with an upcoming march commemorating César Chávez’s achievements.

The Mexican-American civil rights activist helped found what is now the United Farm Workers of America with fellow activist Dolores Huerta.

On March 4, the Tucson City Council established an official paid city holiday commemorating  Chávez under the leadership of Council member Regina Romero, Huerta, and the Arizona César Chávez Holiday Coalition. Furthermore, the biographical film, “Cesar Chavez: History is Made One Step at a Time” premieres Friday, March 28 in theaters.

On Saturday, March 29 – two days before Chávez’s birthday – the Holiday Coalition will host a two-mile march and rally beginning at Pueblo High School and ending at Rudy Garcia Park near Sixth Avenue.

The coalition’s motto is “to maintain, strengthen, and educate with passion and creativity, the spirit, philosophy and struggle of César E. Chávez.”

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Photo of some Arizona César Chávez Holiday Coalition members at last year’s march. (Courtesy of Ruben Reyez of the Arizona César Chávez Holiday Coalition.)

According to the coalition, the event aims to gather local support for what Chávez stood for, and educate Tucsonans about Mexican-American and Chicano culture.

More than 400 people attended last year’s march, according to Ruben Reyez, a member of the Holiday Coalition. This year looks to top that number, he says.

Javier Duran, a Spanish professor at the University of Arizona, teaches a service learning course and encourages his students to participate in the march. Duran says giving back to the community and learning about the culture  is an important lesson students need to understand.

“This particular event affects a lot of Tucsonans, and students should respect and embrace that,” Duran says.

Jeanette Gonzalez, a student at the UA, is looking to attend the event for the first time.

“With a Mexican background, I’m excited to support the cause and embrace my culture and identity,” Gonzalez says.

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