Marchers celebrate Cesar Chavez Day

Cesar Chavez Day march

Saturday’s rainy day kept many people indoors. Several hundred people however gathered at Southside Park in Sacramento to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day.

Marchers braved the rain as they marched from Southside Park’s to Cesar Chavez Plaza and back.

Cesar Chavez Day march

On Saturday, March 31 marchers of all ages commemorated Cesar Chavez Day a state recognized holiday.

The 12th annual march continues to be held in Sacramento rain or shine. The march began at 10 in the morning with several speakers, entertainers and live music performers on hand to keep the spectators’ spirits alive as rain poured down at Southside Park.

Cesar Chavez Day march

Aztec dancers led the procession and their enthusiasm was not dampened as many marched and danced barefoot along the three mile route.

Aztec Dancers march and dance during the Cesar Chavez Day march

The Aztecs dancers also served as a symbolic representation of the United Farm Workers struggle. In regards to symbolism Chavez once said, "A symbol is an important thing. That is why we chose an Aztec eagle. It gives pride…When people see it they know it means dignity."

The legacy of Chavez’ work continues to live and many, as they marched, chanted what was once his life motto, “Si se puede!”

"Sí se puede" is often translated as "Yes, we can.” Barack Obama used “Yes we can” as a slogan when he campaigned for the presidency in 2008. On March 23 the White House released a Presidential Proclamation declaring March 31, 2012 as Cesar Chavez Day. The proclamation called for all Americans to observe the day with appropriate service, community and education programs to honor the farm worker’s enduring legacy.

Saturday’s event allowed marchers representing labor, community and student groups to gather and address issues that concern local and national communities.

Cesar Chavez Day march

A small contingency was also on hand to bring attention to Trayvon Martin the teen shot in Florida by a neighborhood watch member. Several of these marchers wore hoodies to show solidarity for Martin.

Cesar Chavez’s legacy lives on in all who draw inspiration from the values of service, determination, and community that ignited his movement.

After the marchers returned to Southside Park representatives from several organizations, including event sponsor Labor Council for Latin American Advancement addressed the audience. Senator Darrell Steinberg was also on hand to speak to the crowd that stood in the rain.

State Senator Darrell Steinberg addresses crowd at Cesar Chavez Day march at Southside Park

Chavez, who died in 1993, would have been 85 years old on Saturday. His birthday became a California state holiday in 2000 and this year 11 states celebrate Cesar Chavez Day as a state holiday.

Cesar Chavez Day has become a day of service to many who draw inspiration from Chavez’ work. Community organization is at the center of a movement that celebrates Chavez’ efforts to organize and call people to non-violent action and fight for injustice.

Cesar Chavez Day march

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