Si se puede

Cesar Chavez Reno Celebration

March-April 2003
(Stay tuned for a bigger and better event in 2004.)

     HAIL, CESAR — A monthlong celebration of the life of the late labor leader Cesar Chavez concluded on April 24 in front of the Reno Main Post Office at 2000 Vassar Street as the United States Postal Service unveiled the new Cesar Chavez first class stamp. Special commemorative cancellations were sold and cake, cookies and refreshments were served. (When's the last time you got a freebie from the post office? Story below.)

     Speakers discussed Chavez' life and its impacts on society which echo down to the present day, a decade after his death. Several individuals who knew him personally shared their memories. The celebration of Cesar Chavez will become an annual event which promises to get bigger and better with each succeeding year. Watch for news. And get involved.

The kickoff

      KUVR-TV Azteca America and other founding sponsors launched Northern Nevada's first celebration of Cesar Chavez Day at the Siena Hotel, Spa & Casino in downtown Reno at 6:00 p.m. on March 31, 2003.

     The event honored the Latino labor legend on the date of his birth by highlighting his legacy's lasting power. The commemoration was produced in conjunction with the Washoe County School District and community sponsors.

     The sponsoring stations aired a series of thirty-second vignettes from March 17 through April 20 in all dayparts on Northern Nevada's number one Spanish television station, KUVR-68 / Charter Cable 24 and on (English language) WB Channel 27 / Charter Cable 6.

      Special coverage was provided in advance of the event on Noticiero 68. A Cesar Chavez half-hour special was broadcast at 6:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on both March 31 and April 1 on KUVR-68 / Charter Cable 24.

      Washoe County students in three grade levels submitted essays on Cesar Chavez in advance. Three winners from each age group read their essays and were recognized at the March 31 event.

     Sponsors presented awards and prizes to essay contest winners. Special guest speakers talked about the impact of Cesar Chavez in their lives and the positive impact Cesar's work has had on our entire population. Desnie Czipka of the United States Postal Service spoke to essay winners and guests about the process of getting a new stamp produced and how Cesar Chavez was selected for such a great honor.

Founding Sponsors

Laborers' International Union Local 169/AFL-CIO
Marina's Travel
Morrison University
Nevada Fitness
Sak 'n' Save
Siena Hotel, Spa & Casino
Sierra Pacific Power Company
United States Postal Service
Washoe County School District
Western Union

In the News

Dolores Huerta Las Vegas interview
Las Vegas CityLife May 1, 2003

Local stamp unveiling honors labor organizer
Reno Gazette-Journal April 25, 2003

Spirit of Chavez lives on — Florida farm workers
hold 10-day hunger strike at Taco Bell HQ
Labor Notes, April 2003

Nine students honored for essays on Chavez
Reno Gazette-Journal April 1, 2003

Viva La Causa! — Peaceful activism honored
at Reno's first-ever César Chávez Day

Reno News & Review April 3, 2003

UFWA co-founder Dolores Huerta addresses
Las Vegas womens rights forum

Las Vegas CityLife April 10, 2003

Who was Cesar Chavez?

"One of the heroic figures of our time"
—Senator Robert F. Kennedy, D-NY

Cesar Estrada Chavez was born March 31, 1927, on a small farm near Yuma, Arizona that his grandfather homesteaded in the 1880's. At age 10, life began as a migrant farm worker when his father lost the land during the Depression. Together with thousands of displaced families, the Chavez family migrated throughout the Southwest, laboring in fields and vineyards. Cesar left school after the eighth grade to help support his family.

In 1952, Cesar was laboring in apricot orchards outside San Jose when he met Fred Ross, an organizer for the Community Service Organization, a barrio-based self-help group. Within several months, Cesar was a full-time organizer with CSO, coordinating voter registration drives and battling racial and economic discrimination in California and Arizona.

Read more about Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez Model Curriculum

Cesar E. Chavez Foundation — Fight in the Fields, A Film

The FBI X-Files On Cesar Chavez

The Chavez Legacy

UFW Website Biography

Viva César Chávez!Sound clips, pictures, documents and videos.

In 1962, Cesar moved his wife and eight children to Delano, California where he founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA).

In September of 1965, Cesar's NFWA, with 1200 member families, joined an AFL-CIO sponsored union in a strike against major Delano area table and wine grape growers forging national support of unions, church groups, students, minorities, and consumers. The two unions merged in 1966 to form the United Farm Workers.

Cesar called for a worldwide grape boycott and by 1975 over 17 million American adults were honoring the grape boycott. It forced growers to support Governor Jerry Brown's collective bargaining law for farm workers, the 1975 Agricultural Labor Relations Act.

From the beginning, Cesar Chavez adhered to the principals of non-violence practiced by Mohandas K. Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1965, Cesar conducted a 25-day fast to reaffirm the UFW's commitment to non-violence. The late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, D-NY, flew to Delano to be with him when he ended the fast.

In 1991, Cesar received the Aguila Azteca (The Aztec Eagle), Mexico's highest award presented to people of Mexican heritage who have made major contributions outside of Mexico.

Cesar Chavez passed away on April 23, 1993, at the age of 66. More than 40,000 people participated in his funeral at Delano. He is laid to rest at La Paz in a rose garden at the foot of the hill he often climbed to watch the sun rise.

On August 8, 1994, Cesar E. Chavez became the second Mexican American to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. The award was presented posthumously by President Bill Clinton.