April 4, 2003

A breakfast honoring the legacy of César Chávez

Dozens of people –the majority children— gathered last Friday to pay tribute to the memory of the farm workers’ leader

By: Pablo De Sainz

The Fifth Annual César Chávez Breakfast was celebrated last Friday March 28, at the San Diego Convention Center to honor the life and work of the campesino leader, César Chávez, who passed away on April 1993, at the age of 66.

The event, organized by the César E. Chávez Commemoration Committee, was attended by approximately 1,600 people, many of them young adults and children.

It was a multicultural event, where members of all ethnic groups came together to honor a man who gave the most to others. Also, representatives from other religions, including Jews, Muslims and Evangelists, said a prayer to Chávez’s spirit.


Julie Chávez Rodríguez speaking in honor of her grandfather.

In addition, it was an event full of Mexican music, where the song “De colores,” the United Farm Worker’s theme, was sung by dozens of Hispanic, Indigenous, black, and white children.

Julie Chávez Rodríguez

The keynote speaker was his granddaughter Julie Chávez Rodríguez, 24, who’s been socially active since she was a child, and who’s followed in her grandfather’s steps. Chávez Rodriguez, for example, was arrested at the age of 10 at a protest.

“It was really scary,” said the granddaughter of the campesino leader. “But it taught me at a young age that our world is not a perfect world.”

In her speech, the young activist, who graduated from UC Berkeley with a Latin American Studies degree, said that Chávez’ teachings are more alive than never in these times of war.

“We’re being surrounded by violence, that’s why I think that it is very important that we continue teaching young people about Chávez’ non-violence legacy,” Chávez Rodriguez said during the breakfast. “He knew that non-violence was more powerful than violence. He knew that violence could only attract more violence. He knew that we could find better answers.”

The public applauded several times during Chávez Rodriguez’ speech, and it remained standing almost the whole time. Chávez Rodriguez, who works at the César Chávez Foundation in Los Angeles, said that being the farm workers’ leader’s granddaughter has always been her inspiration.

“I think that definitely it’s a tremendous honor, but at the same time it’s a tremendous obligation to continue his work,” she said. “I’m very proud of my heritage, that has inspired me to be who I am today. For us, his grandchildren, he was always ‘tata.’ We never saw him as a famous person.”

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