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Chico State

University Plans Events to Honor Legacy of César Chávez

Digital graphic reading "Respecting and Honoring Cesar Chavez," with a photo of Chavez amid green fields and a rising sun.
Graphic by Geoff Wintrup

California State University, Chico has planned a variety of in-person and virtual events beginning today to honor the lasting legacy of César Chávez.

CSU, Chico joins other state universities, schools and offices in honoring Chávez’s birthday and subsequently will be closed on Wednesday, March 31. This closure provides students and the Chico community the opportunity to participate in civic engagement, inspired by Chávez’s achievements and contributions. In the past, CSU, Chico has offered dozens of community volunteer opportunities for its students. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, however, events have been scaled back slightly and shifted to add virtual opportunities.

Associated President and senior agricultural education major Breanna Holbert said Chávez and activists like him sought to bridge the equity gap in our agriculture workforce. In doing so, they changed the lives of thousands—and their actions are vital for today’s students to understand.

“Chavez laid a blueprint of activism for any student on this campus to study, apply and grow to emulate in their lives right now,” Holbert said. “To learn to advocate for yourself and to learn how to advocate for others are invaluable skills that Chávez’s legacy can inspire in all of us.”

Three days of events to honor Chávez start today, March 29—those interested in joining can find details and ways to register for all events on WildcatSync.

The events begin with a free screening of the film “Food Chains,” available today, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30. This documentary exposes the abuse of farmworkers within the United States and the complicity of the multibillion-dollar supermarket and fast-food industries—all in an effort to work toward a dignified life for farm workers and a more humane and transparent food chain. Students who register will have 48 hours of free access of the film.

On March 30, a virtual discussion titled “Farm to Fork Through the Lived Experience of Our Agricultural Workforce” will explore the real, lived experiences of the population holding our food industry together—75 percent of which are immigrants—and have conversations around agricultural labor stereotypes. Panelists will be CSU, Chico alumnus Neil Tung (Agricultural Science, ’98) and a pair of University faculty—Antonio Arreguin-Bermudez (Department of International Languages, Literatures and Cultures) and Vincent Ornelas (School of Social Work).

Finally, CSU, Chico continues its long-lasting tradition of civic engagement with ’Cats in the Community on Wednesday, March 31. CSU, Chico students will honor Chávez’s legacy acts of public service, including creating appreciation cards to frontline workers in Chico and in-person opportunities, like removing invasive vegetation in Lower Bidwell Park, cleaning the exterior of the Boys and Girls Club of the North State, and maintaining the bike path near campus and ridding it of litter. Lunch will be provided for pick-up for all ’Cats in the Community participants with proof of volunteering.

As founder of the National Farm Workers Association in 1962—an organization which eventually became the United Farm Workers of America—Chávez influenced and inspired millions of Americans through his nonviolent tactics in the struggle for improved treatment, better pay and safer working conditions for farm workers. He devoted his life to this work and his legacy is still felt today in other industries outside farming and agriculture.

Additionally, Chávez was instrumental in the passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, which established collective bargaining rights for farm workers.

In 2014, President Barack Obama designated March 31 as César Chávez Day in his honor, urging Americans to use it as a day of service and education, noting, “Let us remember that when we lift each other up, when we speak with one voice, we have the power to build a better world.”

The University’s events are coordinated by Associated Students, WellCat Prevention, Cross-Cultural Leadership Center, University Police Department, University Housing and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. For questions about this week’s events, contact Tray Robinson, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, at