Bay Area communities honor Cesar Chavez

His birthday, March 31, has become Cesar Chavez Day, a state holiday that has spurred community service events and other civil rights action around that day.

In San Jose, where the Mexican-American Chavez lived for many years of his life, the United Farm Workers flag was raised at City Hall at a Thursday evening ceremony with San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and city councilman Xavier Campos, according to Campos' office assistant Garrett Radcliffe.

Chavez was a leader in the labor movement with his efforts for workers rights leading to union improvements for farm workers. The flag will be raised through April 4.

Radcliffe said Campos spoke at the ceremony where he connected the equality Chavez fought for with contemporary issues surrounding immigration and same-sex marriage.

Campos will be at San Jose's Mexican Heritage Plaza Saturday morning starting at 10 a.m. for a community celebration of Chavez's life, according to Radcliffe.

On Monday, a rally will be held in Oakland starting at noon in De La Fuente Plaza near the Fruitvale BART station.

The rally, organized by the Northern California chapter of the advocacy group By Any Means Necessary, will gather immigrant activists calling for full citizenship and open borders.

A 1 p.m. march down International Boulevard toward downtown Oakland will follow to build up to a national day of action for immigration rights on April 10.

Organizers said the march will show solidarity with the millions of undocumented people living in the U.S.

A parade and festival in honor of Chavez will be held in San Francisco on April 20.

The parade at 11 a.m. will lead into a street fair on 24th Street between Treat and Bryant streets.

Chavez, was born on March 31, 1927 and died on April 23, 1993. He is known for leading California farm workers on marches demanding civil rights while chanting "Sm, se puede," which means "Yes we can" and became his movement's slogan.

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