March 16, 2001

Eastin Encourages Californians to Celebrate Cesar Chavez Day

Sacramento — California has established an official state holiday to honor Latino labor leader Cesar Chavez, born on March 31, 1927. Cesar Chavez Day is intended to promote service to the communities of California in honor of Chavez's life and work. It will be celebrated on March 31, or the appropriate Monday or Friday following or preceding that date. This year's celebration occurs on Friday, March 30.

"It is my pleasure to announce that recently enacted legislation (Senate Bill 984-Polanco) asks schools to celebrate the life and work of Cesar Chavez," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin. "Cesar Chavez Day recognizes one of the state's great leaders who fought injustice and created a coalition for civil rights that was unprecedented in this state's history. I am asking all educators to support this day through education, service-learning and community service. I hope you will join me in celebrating the values of services, sacrifice, tolerance, determination, and non-violence that guided the way in which Cesar Chavez lived his life," said Eastin.

The California Department of Education (CDE) will be supporting the observance in a number of ways. To aid schools and teachers, various resources, including a biography of Cesar Chavez, a list of instructional materials, a document showing how the standards and curriculum framework support the day, a compilation of curricula developed by California's school districts, and links to other useful Internet-based materials are available at <http://www.cde.ca.gov/cesarchavez>.

In addition, grants to support the Cesar Chavez Day of service and learning are being administered by the California Commission on Improving Life Through Service, <http://www.chavezday.ca.gov> The Commission has awarded grants to local and state-operated Americorps or California Conservation Corps program that submitted proposals to engage pupils in service-learning activities linked to the curriculum.

While Cesar Chavez Day is an important holiday, the sponsoring legislation also calls for the life, work, and philosophy of Cesar Chavez to be part of every school's curriculum throughout the year. The History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools specifically references Cesar Chavez, and the Department has developed curriculum guidelines to foster teaching and learning about this great American.

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