¡Feliz César Chávez Day!

Cesar Chavez Day is a U.S. federal commemorative holiday, proclaimed by President Barack Obama in 2014.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a version of the “evergreen” feature we run every Cesar Chavez Day. This version lacks the listing of what’s open and what’s closed because everything is closed. Stay safe at home, pochos!


The holiday celebrates the birth and legacy of the civil rights and labor movement activist Cesar Chavez on March 31 every year. [Wikipedia.]

Who was Chavez?

Mas…¡Feliz César Chávez Day!

The time MLK sent a telegram to Cesar Chavez (photo)


“I am deeply moved by your courage,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, wrote to UFW founder Cesar Chavez in 1966.

“As brothers in the fight for equality,” he wrote, “I extend the hand of fellowship and good will and wish continuing success to you and your members. The fight for equality must be fought on many fronts –- in the urban slums, in the sweat shops of the factories and fields. Our separate struggles are really one — a struggle for freedom, for dignity and for humanity.”

See more at Stanford’s King Encyclopedia.

RIP y QDEP: Ramón ‘Chunky’ Sanchez, pocho hero of San Diego

lalo_chunky_sanchezI was sad to hear that San Diego and Barrio Logan Chicano icon Ramón “Chunky” Sanchez passed away Friday at the age of 65.

Born in 1951 in Blythe, California, Chunky learned to play music from his family, and lived his childhood as a migrant farmworker. He left the farm he worked with his father soon after hearing the owner tell his dad that Chunky would make a great foreman when he was gone.

He decided to go to college, and eventually landed at San Diego State. Chunky and his brother Ricardo’s band Los Alacranes Mojados were a fixture when I was a MEChista at San Diego State; I can’t tell you how many events they played for us and for the entire movimiento.

Mas…RIP y QDEP: Ramón ‘Chunky’ Sanchez, pocho hero of San Diego

Alvaro Huerta, Ph.D: The day my Mexican father met Cesar Chavez

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Long live the farmworkers!

My late father, Salomón Chavez Huerta, first arrived in this country as an agricultural guest worker in the mid-1900s, during the Bracero Program. The Bracero Program represented a guest worker program between the United States and Mexico. From 1942 to 1964, the Mexican government exported an estimated 4.6 million Mexicans to meet this country’s labor shortage not only in the agricultural fields during two major wars (WWII and Korean War), but also in the railroad and mining sectors.

Like many braceros of his generation from rural Mexico, my father didn’t speak too much about the horrible working / housing conditions he endured while toiling in el norte. This included low pay, overcrowded housing, terrible food, limited legal rights, lack of freedom outside of the labor camps, racism, verbal / physical abuse and price gauging from company landlords / stores.

Mas…Alvaro Huerta, Ph.D: The day my Mexican father met Cesar Chavez

La Santa Cecilia picks Beatlefruit in ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ (video)


Beatle John Lennon’s song about playing in the Salvation Army’s Strawberry Fields children’s home near his casa in Liverpool becomes an animated allegory about who picks the juicy red fruits and the crop’s journey from farm to table table to farm as East Los homies La Santa Cecilia transform Strawberry Fields Forever.

PREVIOUSLY ON LA SANTA CECILIA:

Mas…La Santa Cecilia picks Beatlefruit in ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ (video)

Obama dedicates César Chávez monument and we were there (photos)

President Barack Obama and I met up yesterday in Keene, a pueblito of a town in Kern County, CA. Obama was there to dedicate a monument to César Chávez and I was there to witness. See — that’s me with the President in the background!

After a groggy three-hour drive started at the crack of dawn, I stood in what seemed like a mile-long line along with several thousands of other UFW supporters and Obama backers in the dusty, windy Tehachapi morning.

We came to witness the President’s dedication of the 398th Federal National Monument, known as La Paz, and now the Cesar Chavez National Monument in Keene, built on the site of an old tuberculosis hospital in the Tehachapi Mountains. UFW co-founder and labor icon Chavez is buried on the grounds of his longtime HQ. It is idyllic, and a little dusty.

Dancers danced. Mariachis played. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis spoke, also Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Paul Chavez, son of Cesar. I took my family to make sure our three kids got to witness history and see the first African-American president in the flesh. Also historical!

Mas…Obama dedicates César Chávez monument and we were there (photos)

Unsung Heroes of Hispanic Heritage Month: Ray Moss

They were ordinary people living ordinary lives, until one singular sensation of circumstances conspired with fate to make them UNSUNG HEROES OF HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH

The effort to organize African-American, Filipino-American and Mexican-American farmworkers in California’s Central Valley was an uphill battle in 1964. Fledgling union leader Cesar Chavez thought organizing a boycott of a particular crop might make a good focus for his efforts and he settled on rutabagas, which were just coming into season.

Mas…Unsung Heroes of Hispanic Heritage Month: Ray Moss

Community offers a loving goodbye to Lupe Ontiveros

They say everyone loves you when you’re dead. Everyone can also love you when you’re alive, if you’re Lupe Ontiveros.

The funny, talented and bursting with life Mexican-American actress passed away last Thursday in Whittier, CA.

My son and I attended Lupe Ontiveros’ Rosary service last night in Pico Rivera to pay our last respects to Lupe and her family. (See my photo of program from the memorial service.)

It was overflowing with family, friends and fans. One of her three sons read an opening note (sent via Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis) from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama,  a message of condolence from the White House.

Everybody in Chicano theater and film was there, including Zoot Suit playwright Luis Valdez, actor Edward James Olmos, Vanessa Marquez, Pepe Serna, Evelina Fernandez, the guys from Culture Clash, UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta, current UFW President Arturo Rodriguez and many more. A girl in a “Goonies Forever” T-shirt sat near us in the balcony.

Continued at NBC Latino…

Students create gigantic portrait of Cesar Chavez from 5500 dominos

San Diego students used dominos to create a huge Cesar Chavez mural and installed it over the weekend in Chicano Park. NBC San Diego’s Gitzel Puente reports:

It took 5,500 domino pieces, 40 students and six weeks to create this piece of art. Students and staff from O’Farrell Community School started this mural using blueprints, and then they glued them to vinyl tiles [and]…dedicated this 10-foot mural to farm labor leader Cesar Chavez.

“About two months ago, we decided to do something for the community and what better thing to do than dedicate this to Cesar Chavez. We started telling the kids about it, letting them know what he did, his legacy and how he brought people together for a good cause,” says O’Farell’s Spanish instructor Jose Islas.

Puente uploaded a nice photo of the portrait to her Twitter account. We have it below:

Mas…Students create gigantic portrait of Cesar Chavez from 5500 dominos