Honoring Chávez …

On March 31, 2012, we took our family to San Antonio’s 16th Annual César E. Chávez March for Justice from the West Side through downtown to the Alamo.  I want to share these pictures with you as a part of our journey participating in our first César E. Chávez march.

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Beginning on the West Side at Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center

It was our first year to participate and the first year supporters were able to march down “César E. Chávez Blvd”.  Last year, San Antonio renamed Durango Blvd to César E. Chávez Blvd but it wasn’t without controversy.  So it wasn’t a surprise that the crowd cheered louder as we approached the boulevard. “¡Sí se puede!”  You could feel the energy rise … it didn’t hurt that there were a few bikers parked nearby revving up their engines really getting the crowd excited.

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My mom, two boys and my husband marching on César E. Chávez Blvd.

Leaders stopped and gathered in on the steps of San Antonio’s City Hall to recognize Paul E. Chávez, the Grand Marshall of the March (and son of César) and make a proclamation of the day.  In a recent interview in Phoenix, Paul is quoted saying of his father, “He told us to remember that the work is not like a baseball game. It doesn’t end. The struggle only ends when we give up.” (source: MySA.com, http://bit.ly/JmVNwf)

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Paul E. Chávez, son of César E. Chávez and Grand Marshall, receiving the proclamation from SA’s Mayor Castro on the steps of City Hall.

Although there was no official count, it was estimated approximately 10,000 people participated in the march, a number that I hope will grow year after year.

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From the bridge on Guadalupe Street on the West Side

Many San Antonio college students were seen and heard.  Chanting loudly:

“What do we want?”

-“Dream Act”

“When do we want it?”

-“Now”

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St. Mary’s University was one of several local colleges that were represented.

City officials, local politicians and several corporations came out to honor and pay tribute to César and create awareness around the issues that are affecting our community today.  We came out to be a part of a community that doesn’t forget about honoring a man’s legacy who dedicated his life to others.  He worked tirelessly and protested by means of fasting to make a difference for others’ lives and bring justice to people around him and in this country.  To learn more about his life and work and San Antonio’s Annual March, visit www.cesarchavezlegacy.org

My son, asleep after marching for justice.

An unexpected result from this experience that puts a smile on my face is now my sons will randomly begin to chant “¡Sí se puede!” I know they don’t understand it now but I do believe that if I expose them to standing up for justice and equality, they will begin to understand why it is important to participate.  What’s the saying … “Children learn more from what is caught than what is taught.”

There is more work to do than showing up and walking 3 miles through downtown but we’ve taken our first step.  What acts do you show children the importance to stand for justice and equality?

César E. Chávez          March 31, 1927 –        April 23, 1993

Melanie Mendez-Gonzales

Original content creator for ¿Qué Means What? Texas Latina mom blogger celebrating culture in education, entertainment and family life.

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2 Responses

  1. Mandy says:

    I didn’t know about this! There’s still so much I have to learn about San Antonio!

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