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East Valley Focus

SAN FERNANDO : Holiday Proposed to Honor Chavez


A city councilman has proposed that San Fernando join a budding movement to honor the late Cesar Chavez, who organized grape boycotts in the 1960s as the leader of the United Farm Workers union, by declaring his birthday a legal holiday.

"There are a lot of warm feelings in this city toward Mr. Cesar Chavez," said Councilman Jose Hernandez, who asked his colleagues to add March 31 as an official city holiday. "I think San Fernando should take the initiative."

The proposal follows others across the state to pay tribute to the labor leader, who died April 23 in San Luis, Ariz. Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina is seeking to rename two streets in East Los Angeles "Avenida Cesar Chavez" and the Santa Ana Unified School District last week decided to name a school after Chavez.

During a memorial march last week in San Fernando to honor the union leader, Hernandez said he was approached by community members who wanted a more permanent tribute for Chavez in a city that is 83% Latino.

"The sentiment is widespread in San Fernando," Hernandez said, "especially among the young people. He's a world hero to a lot of us."

Councilman Doude Wysbeek suggested at a meeting Monday that the city mark Chavez's birthday with a memorial recognition day instead of a legal holiday to hold down costs.

City Administrator Mary Strenn said city staff members will make recommendations next month.

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