Local march honors Cesar Chavez

March 31, 2008 12:54:02 PM PDT
Today is the birthday of the late labor leader Cesar Chavez - a state holiday that's not being observed everywhere in California.

Demonstrators in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Oakland and other places marched in hopes of convincing schools and businesses all over the state to take the day off.

This is a march essentially to honor Cesar Chavez, but it is also one because these demonstrators are demanding changing California's schools and they are calling on the school district to have California follow Oakland and San Francisco's lead, and simply close down on Cesar Chavez Day.

"So we are here, the first, the strong, to honor the memory to fight for the future," said one of the marchers.

Marchers started early at around 9:30 in the morning on Monday, and they are to march a nine-mile stretch from International Boulevard to City Hall.

Similar marches are going on in Los Angeles and Sacramento. The state of California made Cesar Chavez birthday a holiday about eight years ago, and demonstrators today that all California schools do the same.

They are also asking schools to hold educational assemblies to honor Chavez. Districts today with heavy Latino populations such as in San Jose are in session; those schools are open today.

Organizers say this would be a first step to recognize the contributions of immigrants in California, very similar to how Dr. Martin Luther King Day is celebrated at a national level.

"We are a state and a nation that was built on immigrants, but yet we are still fighting that we get financial aid for undocumented immigrant students, we are fighting to get the passage of the Dream Act, we are still fighting to stop the raids and the deportations that are terrorizing our communities and that are separating their parents from their children, simply because of a lack of a piece of paper," said organizer Yvette Felorca.

Organizers of today's Cesar Chavez demonstration and parade were all asking that students in those school districts where school was in session today, they were asking those students to boycott school, and leave school to come and demonstrate.

But among those demonstrating today we saw very few students. Many were adults, immigrants, Latinos and everyone out here pushing for change in California's school.


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