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K-State Today

March 29, 2023

Hispanic Heritage 365: Celebrate Cesar Chavez Day

Submitted by Marcos Mendez

César Chávez, born César Estrada Chávez, March 31, 1927-April 23, 1993, was an American farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist who, with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association — later the United Farm Workers union — in 1962 in California. It would grow to achieve national prominence as it fought to promote labor and worker rights as well as equal opportunity in education and environmental justice.

On March 31, 2008, while a senator, Barack Obama endorsed the idea of creating a national holiday in Chávez's honor: "Chavez left a legacy as an educator, environmentalist, and a civil rights leader. And his cause lives on. As farm workers and laborers across America continue to struggle for fair treatment and fair wages, we find strength in what Cesar Chavez accomplished so many years ago. And we should honor him for what he's taught us about making America a stronger, more just, and more prosperous nation."

On March 28, 2014, President Obama used his authority to proclaim each March 31 as César Chávez Day.

To celebrate César Chávez Day and the work of Dolores Huerta, Alianza invites you to attend a special event at 4 p.m. March 31 in the second-floor meeting room of the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center. Two K-State faculty members will offer presentations.

Yolanda Broyles-González, university distinguished professor and head of the department of social transformation studies, will present "Remembering César Chávez: Labor Rights are Civil Rights." Her presentation will recall her friendship and professional relationship with César Chávez.

Douglas K. Benson, emeritus professor of Spanish language, cultures and literatures in the modern languages department, will present "César Chávez and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., March 1968: A Growing Alliance." His presentation will include many of the striking parallels between the lives and careers of the two civil rights icons.

The event is sponsored by Alianza and the social transformation studies department.

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