Where to celebrate César Chávez Day in Austin

Cesar Chavez on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol on Labor Day 1966. Photo contributed by Phil Oakley

Civil rights activist César Chávez was no stranger to Austin. In 1966, he arrived to lend his support to agricultural workers who marched from the Rio Grande Valley to the Texas Capitol seeking a pay raise from about 40 to 60 cents an hour to $1.25.

Chávez met the marchers, who stayed at St. Edward’s University overnight, at the campus and joined them for what became a historic march — one that’s often credited with giving rise to the state’s Chicano movement.

On Chávez’ birthday March 31, celebrations across the country will honor his life and legacy. In Austin, don’t miss a free screening of the critically-acclaimed documentary “Dolores” at 7 p.m. March 29 at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center.

The documentary, directed by Peter Bratt, tells the story of Dolores Huerta, whom the filmmaker describes as “among the most important yet least-known activists in American history.” Huerta co-founded the first farmworkers union with Chávez — all while raising her 11 children.

Stick around after the film for what’s sure to be an insightful conversation with some of Austin’s prominent community leaders including Lilia Rosas, caretaker of Resistencia Bookstore, and award-winning poet Ire’ne Lara Silva.

RELATED: Check out more cultural art events

On March 31, Austinites can also join the annual “Sí Se Puede” family-friendly march, which will feature speakers, music and dancers. This year’s theme centers around helping renters and homeowners of color remain in their homes as well as the continued fight for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to stay in the country.

Marchers will assemble at 10 a.m. at Terrazas library on 1105 E. Cesar Chavez St. and head to the A.B. Cantu/Pan American Recreation Center, where the community will gather from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. For more information, call march organizers People Organized in Defense of Earth and Her Resources at 512-401-3311.

Austin honors Cesar Chavez legacy

 

Austin Mayor Steve Adler, left, and Paul Chavez, son of Cesar Chavez, lead the 14th Annual Cesar E. Chavez "Si Se Puede!" March on Cesar Chavez Street on Saturday March 28, 2015.  Hundreds marched from the Terrazas Library to City Hall.  JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Austin Mayor Steve Adler, left, and Paul Chavez, son of Cesar Chavez, lead the 14th Annual Cesar E. Chavez “Si Se Puede!” March on Cesar Chavez Street on Saturday March 28, 2015. Hundreds marched from the Terrazas Library to City Hall. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Austinites walked alongside Paul Chavez, son of civil rights leader Cesar Chavez, at this year’s “Si Se Puede!” March on Saturday, which started at the Terrazas Library and ended at the steps of City Hall with speeches, music and entertainment.

Austin American-Statesman reporter James Barragan wrote about how the march tied current issues to the labor leader’s fight.

Check out a photo gallery of scenes from the Cesar Chavez March by photographer Jay Janner.

Austin’s César Chávez March to feature son of labor leader

Austin residents gather near an altar  created at the Cesar Chavez Memorial Sculpture at the Terrazas Library. Community  members gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez with a march down E. Cesar Chavez St. past Congress Avenue to Austin City Hall Plaza for a solidarity rally. Saturday, March 29, 2014. Valentino Mauricio/For American-Statesman
Austin residents gather near an altar created at the Cesar Chavez Memorial Sculpture at the Terrazas Library. Community members gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez with a march down E. Cesar Chavez St. past Congress Avenue to Austin City Hall Plaza for a solidarity rally. Saturday, March 29, 2014.
Valentino Mauricio/For American-Statesman

Paul Chávez, the son of the late labor leader Cesar Chávez, will be this year’s guest speaker at PODER’s 14th annual “Sí Se Puede” March this Saturday, March 28. Attendees will assemble at Terrazas Library (1105 E. Cesar Chavez St.) at 10 a.m. and march to City Hall Plaza, where there will be music, speakers and entertainment.

As we become more aware of where our food comes from and how it’s grown, let’s not forget the hundreds of thousands of migrant farm workers who call Texas home and help nourish you and your family by laboring in the fields and canneries across the United States.

Every meal has a story, and when labor leader and civil rights activist César Chávez advocated for migrant farmworker rights, he was also trying to ensure that all Americans have a safe food supply.