Cesar Chavez rally set for March 29

cpride@losbanosenterprise.comMarch 21, 2014 

COREY PRIDE/THE ENTERPRISE A group known as the Azteca Dancers performed at the third annual Cesar Chavez Day march and rally in 2010. The event commemorates the civil rights leader and the movement he led to improve working conditions for farm laborers.

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— Scores of people are expected to remember a man next weekend who demanded better conditions for farm laborers.

The eighth annual Cesar Chavez march and rally kicks off at noon March 29 at City Hall, 520 J St.

Participants will march from City Hall to Pacheco Park, at Pacheco Boulevard and Seventh Street, where there will be speeches, dances and remembrances of Chavez. The host of the event is the Social Science Club at Merced College’s Los Banos campus.

“Cesar Chavez was a great hero,” said Scott Coahran, a professor and adviser of the Social Science Club. “I came from Arizona. When I was a college student, he was leading protests. We were joining in the boycotts.”

Chavez, who would have turned 87 this month, was known for his nonviolent protests, including a 25-day fast in 1968 and a 36-day fast 20 years later. His efforts led landowners to sign union contracts with farmworkers.

Pascual Mendivil started the march and rally in Los Banos nearly a decade ago. In recent years, Henry and Naiche Dominguez have organized the event.

“We recognize and honor the man, but more than that we’re honoring the principles he stood by, equality and justice for all,” Mendivil said.

Lulu Ochoa, president of the UC Merced Chicano civil rights group MEChA, said events such as the Cesar Chavez march are important.

“I feel like they (young adults) know who Cesar Chavez is because he started the union, but they don’t know why he is important,” Ochoa said, adding that she thinks her generation doesn’t fully grasp the hardships farm laborers faced before the formation of the United Farm Workers of America.

Los Banos Enterprise Reporter Corey Pride can be reached at (209) 826-3831 or cpride@losbanosenterprise.com.

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