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East Valley Focus

SAN FERNANDO : City Prepares for Cesar Chavez Day

March 29, 1995|TIM MAY

The city of San Fernando will hold its second annual Cesar Chavez Day celebration and march Friday in honor of the late labor leader.

San Fernando became the first city in the country to establish an official holiday to honor Chavez when it passed a resolution in 1993 declaring March 31 a day of celebration and remembrance of the farm workers' hero. Though city employees will get the day off, school children do not, because they attend schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District.

On Friday, San Fernando residents will celebrate the 68th anniversary of the birth of Chavez, who died in his sleep in San Luis, Ariz., on April 23, 1993. He was 66. A march will begin at 6 p.m., with participants gathering at six schools throughout the city and nearby: Gridley, Morningside, O'Melveny and San Fernando elementary schools, San Fernando Middle School and San Fernando High School.

The march will culminate at Recreation Park, 208 Park Ave. A cultural celebration including Danzantes Aztecas, mariachis, Ballet Fokloricos and several speakers will commence at 7 p.m. The city of San Fernando donated $750 for refreshments and easels to display art work; it is also providing police protection.

The City Council made March 31 an official holiday to help residents remember and honor Chavez, who gained worldwide fame and respect for leading the United Farm Workers Union during the 1960s grape boycott. Chavez helped farm workers obtain important collective bargaining rights and redress for discrimination or unfair labor practices perpetrated by growers.

The Cesar Chavez Day celebration comes amid a dispute among some of the city's nearly 22,600 residents over whether to rename a street, or perhaps a park, after Chavez. A proposal to rename Kalisher Street after Chavez was approved by the City Council earlier this month, but the decision was delegated to a committee after some residents protested the move.

Friday's celebration, billed as alcohol- and drug-free, is sponsored by the Cesar Chavez Memorial Committee, the city, Pueblo Y Salud Inc., and the San Fernando Valley Partnership.

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