Author Gloria Velasquez to speak about life journey for César Chávez Week

Along with the help of 14 other sponsors, El Centro will host two final events for César Chávez week.

César Chávez, a farm worker that played an important role in the Civil Rights Movement, became an inspirational role model for Latino people. Because of the level of importance Chávez had and continues to have on Latino families, El Centro felt that celebrating his life was vital.

For David Gonzalez, junior resource academic mentor for El Centro, Chávez is an important person to celebrate because his impact on the Latino people was more than people understand.

“It is to remember the work of César Chávez as well as to remember that the work he did is something that still needs to continue all around the world,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez explained that regardless of the time period, it is still important to have the ideals and motivation that Chávez had. By celebrating his life, according to Gonzalez, they will never forget.

“Workers are always in need for better rights and better working conditions. The world still needs people like César Chávez that will stand up against the CEOs and to the government in order to speak up against the injustices against the working class,” Gonzalez said.  “That is why we still need to remember and pay respects to the work of César Chávez.”

There will be a César Chávez Community Celebration on Thursday, March 28 at the Drake Center. There will be food and events to remember Chávez. Gloria Velasquez, an internationally acclaimed author, will be introducing the evening.

Friday, March 29 Velasquez will be hosting a keynote speech titled “My Life Journey: From the Farmworker Fields to Stanford University.” The event will take place in the Lory Student Center Theatre from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  The event will conclude the events for César Chávez Week.

Karla Lerma Banda, also a junior resource academic mentor for El Centro, explained that regardless of what people may assume about Chávez, he played an important role in the lives of many people and he needs to be remembered.

“Cesar Chavez is important because he is a man that took action in getting people equality,” said Lerma Banda. “Some people may not know who he is or believe he didn’t make a difference, but in reality he gave people inspiration.”

Lerma Banda said that today, remembering Chávez will only bring people more hope for the future.

“Today he is the inspiration many need to move forward and take action,” Lerma Banda said. “People can stand up for what they believe in and know they have a voice and that there are people who are willing to listen.”

El Centro created the events in hopes that students would have a place to learn about Chávez and the importance of celebrating his life.

Brandy Salazar, program coordinator for El Centro, explained in an email to the Collegian that the events will at the very least provide education for the students who want to know more about Chávez and his role in the Civil Rights Movement.

“It is important for students to come to César Chávez events to learn just the basic, who is César Chávez and what is his importance,” said Salazar. “The events will give all in attendance a better understanding of the great change César Chávez made during the Civil Rights Movement.”

Salazar said that in addition to understanding a few details about Chávez’s life, the audience will also understand the connection between Chávez and today’s society.

“Those who attend will also get to understand the continued struggle several Latinas and Latinos face today event after the movement,” Salazar said. “These events allow us as students, faculty, staff, and community members to come together and appreciate the great strides we have made in society, while also recognizing that there is more work to be done.”

Diversity Beat Reporter Alex Steinmetz can be reached at news@collegian.com.