By Willie Lopez
On March 26, the 15th annual Cesar Chavez celebration will take place sponsored by El Concilio de Fresno and the Fresno Unified School District (FUSD), along with the Cesar Chavez Adult School. The event starts at the Saroyan Theater at 9:30 a.m. with entertainment from various FUSD schools—folkloric dancing from Sequoia Middle School, mariachis from Bullard Talent and theater presentations from Roosevelt High School—as well as music by Mujeres Valientes, movement music by Guadalupe Gutierrez and tunes from OmeDJ and other student groups from diverse cultures.
Also during the morning program, local dignitaries will speak at a special presentation on the late leader and activist Alfonso Hernandez. Winners of a school essay writing contest on Cesar Chavez’s life will be announced, and a few of the winning essays will be read. Vignettes will be shown. Other neat surprises are planned as well.
At 11:30 a.m., the auditorium will empty into the streets to follow a designated route to the Cesar Chavez Adult School. With the assistance of the California Highway Patrol (members of the committee), the march will feature UFW (United Farm Workers) banners, chants, mariachi music, a statue of the Virgin Mary and the U.S., Mexican and UFW flags waving much as in the days of the UFW marches.
A special garlanding ceremony will be held at 11:45 a.m. at the adult school next to the bust of Cesar Chavez by Dr. Sudarshan Kapoor. Dr. Kapoor will also be honored for having been a founding member of the original committee that created this event. At the garlanding ceremony, Valientes and Gutierrez will play music. Huge beautiful photos of the UFW will be hanging throughout the foyer on display. The late George Ballis took these black-and-white photos.
Refreshments and cake will be served at the adult school, and a specially prepared meal for committee members and other invited guests will be served in the covered patio of the school directly after the ceremony. OmeDJ will play her tunes with a special solo by Gutierrez.
Approximately 1,200 students, parents and community dignitaries are anticipated to attend. The FUSD will bus hundreds of students to the event. There is no charge to attend. The event has always been a huge success, and the same is expected again this year.
Willie Lopez is chair of Cesar Chavez Advisory Committee under El Concilio de Fresno. For more information contact Willie Lopez at willie Lopez at email@example.com.