Lubbock march pays tribute to Cesar Chavez

by JENNY GARZA/Entertainment Editor

Si se puede! Si se puede! Sal si puede!

This was one of the chants heard on April 9 from those participating in the the Cesar Chavez march from Hodges Park to Cavazos Middle School on University Avenue in Lubbock.

This year, the theme was “United for Peace.” The reason they selected that was because there are so many struggles happening in our community and the world, according to Christy Garcia, the event organizer.

Garcia, the editor and publisher for the Latino Lubbock Magazine, has been leading the march and organizing it for 13 years, though she has been involved with it for 17 years. She will be stepping down this year because of the many other events and organizations she is apart of.

“We have to pass the torch,” Garcia said. “We have been planting the seed for the next generation, and it takes time, and I will continue to be here for support.”

The marchers all met up at Cavazos Middle School and then boarded on bus to the starting place at Hodges Park, where there is a street called Cesar Chavez Drive, which Garcia also took part in making happen.

Many of the participants were marching to keep their family memories alive and continuing their cause for future generations to be informed of what was done for the migrant workers community.

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Participating at Cesar Chavez annual march chant and raise flags while walking down University Avenue in Lubbock on April 9. JENNY GARZA/PLAINSMAN PRESS

“I wanted to do this march to support all the migrant farm workers past, present, and future,” said Marisol Alonzo. “Also, because my grandparents were migrant farm workers and they came through some of the camps here. I want to honor their memory and also all the hard work my father did as well.”

Walking with the many different people and hearing the conversations about this certain event in history allows for someone to see all the changes that these people made.

The reenactments, as well as hearing the chants, transports you back in time and has you experiencing what Chicanos did and had to go through at that time in history.

Some of the people who showed up for the march were Latinos who are running for office, such as Lala Chavez and Victor Hernandez, among others.

“I’ve been blessed,” said Chavez. “I lived in Delano, California, and when I was little, my family was passing out fliers that read, ‘Huegla.’ They were letting folks know about the pesticide and the way they were treating the immigrants and migrants. I was very young, and at that time I did not know what was happening. I do remember that Señor Cesar Chavez came up to my family and thanked us.”

Garcia made the marchers stand in groups of three in each line, with each person holding a flag. Some even had paper with the face of Chavez on it.

Garcia picked up her megaphone and started teaching all the different chants. As she was walking, she explained the history of the chants, the people involved, and why it is so important to continue this movement.

As they made their way down to University Avenue, people chanted and raised their flags and signs high. Passing cars honked horns and bystanders took photos with their cameras and phones.

“It’s still happening today,” Chavez said. “I decided when I got older to fight the cause, as well to keep it up. Because if it goes down, everything he did for us, not just for the workers but for Chicanos too, it will be for nothing. We can’t let that happen.”

These marchers were making a difference, just like their fellow Latinos did before them. They were informing people of what Chavez went through, how he fasted to get his point across, how he would travel to different places to get things done, as well as the other people he involved to get work rights for his people.

“There are still struggles, and we have to continue to make sure people are aware that the struggle has not ended,” said Garcia. “We have to make sure they are aware that education is significant, and also that there are still farm workers who pick the food to make sure we have the quality food that we need.”

After returning to Cavazos Middle School, everyone made a circle while Garcia and a few others led the crowd in more chants while continuing to tell the history of the chants.

“It benefited all the families across the United States,” says Garcia. “Not to mistake him for other people, Cesar Chavez was a man of peace who fasted for 25 days with no food to make sure his act made an impact and reminded the farm workers that we were going to do this in a nonviolent manner.”

Garcia asked for everyone to shake hands and give the sign of peace, which is done in the Catholic faith.

They began clapping and continuing all the chants, as well praying for the cause.

After all was said and done, Garcia thanked everyone who participated and let people tell what organization they came from.

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