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San Luis honors life, legacy of Cesar Chavez
SAN LUIS, Ariz. — In communities around the nation where Cesar Chavez led the farm labor movement, his birth and his legacy will be remembered in celebrations this weekend.
But organizers of the event for Chavez in San Luis are planning on their celebration standing out above all others.
“We have the obligation and the need to preserve the legacy of Cesar Chavez with greater enthusiasm, and to make sure San Luis is identified as a city where his life and work are honored, and not just as the city where he died,” said Marco Antonio Reyes, executive director of the Comite de Bien Estar, a housing agency helping organize San Luis festivities.
As much as anything, organizers hope to use the event to make younger generations better aware of Chavez, a co-founder of the United Farm Workers union and leader of the farm labor movement in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Born in the Gila Valley on March 31, 1927, Chavez died April 23, 1993, in San Luis.
Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Cesar Chavez will place over three days, starting Friday. All events are open to the public.
“I believe that all of our community organizations are connected with the farmworker community because of what Cesar Chavez struggled for,” said Reyes.
As part of the event, Campesinos Sin Fronteras, a San Luis-based nonprofit organization that provides services for low-income families in the south county, will host a mental health forum Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fernando Padilla Community Center, 800 E. Juan Sanchez Blvd. in San Luis.
The forum will focus on youth-related issues such as depression, behavioral health, substance abuse and school bullying.
Saturday events kick off at 8 a.m. with a horse parade expected to feature nearly 500 riders, many of them members of the Association of Vaqueros of Yuma.
The parade will start at the intersection of Avenue B and County 19th Street and continue to the Plaza Riedel Shopping Center at 10th Avenue and Juan Sanchez Boulevard in San Luis.
Representatives of community organizations will lead a march starting at noon west along Juan Sanchez to the intersection of Main Street, to the site of a Chavez monument on the grounds of the city cultural center that is named for him.
Then from 1 to 5 p.m., Campesinos Sin Fronteras, the Regional Center for Behavioral Health and Housing America will host a health and housing fair for the public at Joe Orduno Park, located next to the Cesar Chavez Cultural Center.
Live entertainment will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. Scheduled to perform are local singers Lizbeth Macias and Alicia Marron; Jorge “El Rodino” Delgado, a San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., resident who sings corridos, or musical ballads that draw on local themes; and modern and folkloric dance groups around the area.
Live entertainment will continue from 6 to 10 p.m. with a performance by German Lizarraga and members of his band Estrellas de Sinaloa, known throughout Mexico for their a brass-based banda style of music. Also performing will be the norteño music band Cadete de Linares and the tropical music group Sonora Dinamita.
Food booths will serve the public from 1 p.m. till the end of Saturday festivities.
The three-day event concludes Sunday with a Mass in honor of Chavez from noon to 1 p.m. in the San Judas Tadeo parish in San Luis.