March 28, 2003

César Chávez Celebration at UCSD

Celebrate, Educate, Serve is the theme of a month-long series of events during April at the University of California, San Diego celebrating the life and achievements of labor leader and champion of human rights César E. Chávez.

UCSD activities honoring Chávez, whose birthday is observed as a state holiday March 31, begin March 28 and continue through April. All events are free and open to the public.

Chávez was the principal figure in the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, a leader in the struggle for working families and an advocate for non-violent solutions and dignity and respect for all. He died a decade ago. The essence of his legacy will be the focus of lectures, films, the unveiling of a César E. Chávez Commemorative Stamp, a panel discussion by artists, a poetry series, a cultural celebration, and a youth essay contest.

Among lecturers will be the author of the legislation to create the César E. Chávez state holiday and the playwright/screenwriter of the award-winning film Real Women Have Curves.

California State Senator Richard Polanco will speak on Creating the César E. Chávez Holiday at 11:30 a.m. April 4 in the Warren College Amphitheater at UCSD. Polanco is author of the legislation creating the holiday.

Polanco says that in addition to recognizing Chávez as a labor leader and fighter for justice for all workers, the legislation also honors Chávez as an individual who helped shape the America we live in today and who showed, by example, how each individual can make a difference. “My hope is that through the observance of the holiday all children can learn from the life of César Chávez about the value of serving others,” says Polanco.

On April 11, Kevin Johnson of the University of California, Davis, School of Law, will speak on 9/11 and Latina/o Immigrants: Collateral Damage Comes Home at noon in the UCSD Cross-Cultural Center. Johnson will discuss the collateral damage of the war on terrorism, specifically the government’s response to Sept. 11 on the U.S. Latina/o immigrant community.

A Harvard Law graduate, Johnson is a specialist in civil rights and immigration law and the co-author of Race, Civil Rights and Immigration Law After Sept. 11, 2001: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims.

Dorothy Fujita-Rony of the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine, will speak at 4 p.m. April 11 in the UCSD Cross-Cultural Center. Her topic is Filipina/o Americans, Agricultural Labor, and the U.S. West. She will discuss the history of Filipina/o Americans in the farm industry, focusing on how their legacies are remembered and retold in present-day culture. Fujita-Rony is the author of American Workers, Colonial Power: Philippine Seattle and the Transpacific West, 1919-1941.

Real Women Have Curves, the 2002 Sundance Film Festival award-winning film by playwright and co-screenwriter Josefina Lopez, will screen at 7 and 10 p.m. April 22 in the UCSD Price Center Theatre. The film shows hard-working Chicana/Latina women with love, humor, and pride that defies stereotypes and is based on Lopez’s own experience.

Lopez will speak from her experience on Real Women Have Courage: From San Luis Potosi to Hollywood at 7 p.m. April 23 in the Price Center Theatre. Lopez received an M.F.A. in film, TV, and screenwriting from UCLA and is artistic director for CASA 0101, Theater Art Space in Boyle Heights, California. Her lecture is presented by the Helen Edison Lecture Series.

On April 28, Camille Charles of the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, will speak on the subject of a book she co-authored, Source of the River: The Social Origin of Freshman at America’s Selective Colleges and Universities at 4 p.m. in the UCSD Literature Building, Room 3155. She will discuss minority student underperformance in selective colleges and universities produced by factors such as neighborhood, family, gender, peer group, race, economic class, and early schooling.

The month-long Chávez finale will be a panel discussion, Walls of Resistance - Reclaiming la Frontera, Breaking Down Barriers, at 7 p.m. April 30 in the UCSD Cross-Cultural Center. The speakers will be Chicana/Mexicana artists/activists Berenice Bedillo of Michoacan, Mexico, murals; Carmen Linares Kahlo of Tijuana, multidisciplinary work and Chicano Park murals, and Carmela Castrejon Diego of Tijuana, photography, sculpture, painting.

Other activities in the month-long salute to César E. Chávez include:

 The High School Essay Contest Awards Presentation and Breakfast, 7:30 a.m., March 28, San Diego Convention Center. Presented by the Early Academic Outreach Program and the César E. Chávez Celebration Planning Committee.

 The 25th Annual Cultural Celebration, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., April 12, UCSD’s Thurgood Marshall College. Music, dance, food, and art from around the world. Presented by the Leadership Committee for Cultural Connection.

 Screening of the documentary film, Chicano Park by Marilyn Mulford and Mario Barrera and narrated by Tony Plana, 5 p.m. April 17 in the Cross-Cultural Center. Salvador Torres, artist and a founder of the park in 1970, will discuss the struggle for artistic and political self-determination during the Chicano Movement.

 Unveiling of the César E. Chávez Commemorative Stamp, noon, April 21 in the Price Center Plaza.

 The Urban World Poetry Series featuring Harry Gamboa, 4 p.m. April 4; Piri Thomas, 4 p.m. April 18, and Marisela Norte, 4 p.m. April 25, Cross-Cultural Center.

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