Por Luis Alonso Pérez
For Cesar E. Chávez the right for an education was one of the main motives of his struggle. His goal was an education that impelled the new generations to have initiative, creativity and criterion that allowed them to think and act by themselves, but always keeping in mind the progress and prosperity of their community. “The end of all education should surely be service to others” he used to say.
To honor his legacy and continue with his cause, the Southwestern College Chicano Latino Coalition (ChLC) supports outstanding students with scholarships. To help raise money for scholarships, on Wednesday March 30th, a fundraising breakfast in honor of Chávez was organized. More than 200 community members and Southwestern College (SWC) students got together to enjoy a breakfast, watch the scholarship granting and to speakers talk about the life and legacy of one of the most important figures in the history of the United States. The event began with a Mexican buffet breakfast. Miguel Lopez’s harp played while photographs of the history and struggle of Chávez were projected on two screens.
The welcome and introduction to the event was carried out by Jaime Salazar and Debbie Trujillo, Co-Chairmen of the Southwestern College Chicano Latino Coalition, an organization dedicated to the support the academic and occupational success of SWC Chicano and Latino students, faculty and staff. After the welcome Salazar and Trujillo handed out the four scholarship awards to students: Raquel Escalada, Christian Curiel, Gladys Munguia and Enrique Unzueta.
David Valladolid was the event’s keynote speaker, in his contribution he spoke about the great fighting spirit of Chávez, and his hard work to obtain a social change in his country. However, he was a man like any other. A field worker, son of immigrants parents with an 8th grade education.
Valladolid talked about the exemplary life of Chávez to students and members of the community and invited them to become active in their hometowns. He finished his message with some words from the farm workers leader:
“Once social change began, it cannot be reversed, you cannot uneducate a person who has been reading, you cannot humiliate a person who feels pride, you cannot oppress a person who is not afraid anymore
To end the event, Norma Hernandez Superintendent/President of SWC shared an anecdote about a trip, in which she had the opportunity to celebrate Chávez’s birthday in his hometown. She talked about the tremendous admiration she felt for Chávez when she saw him sharing coffee and sweet bread after mass with the town’s farmers, the respect she felt for him when she saw him greeting town members and calling them by their names.
Her story gave end to the event, but the most important thing was than it portrayed the human quality and love that Cesar E Chávez felt for his people.