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Cesar Chavez rally held in Salinas

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Cesar Chavez rally held in Salinas

<www.zwire.com/news/newsstory.cfm>

Apr 1 2003
By TARMO HANNULA
OF THE REGISTER-PAJARONIAN

Farm workers, community members, politicians and others staged a festive and colorful march through the streets of Salinas Sunday to honor the founder of the United Farm Workers, Cesar Chavez.
Waving flags, banners and photographs and chanting slogans, about 700 people gathered together at Cesar Chavez Park and then marched peacefully along the streets under a hot noon sun. The march wound through about four miles of neighborhood and business district streets and emptied into the playground of Jesse G. Sanchez School. There, a rally unfolded, punctuated with music, speeches, food and other activities.
“This is fantastic,” said Arturo Rodriguez, who has been the UFW president for close to 10 years. “This is a wonderful showing of people, a strong show of support and what a beautiful day to recognize Cesar Chavez.”
Put on by a litany of groups and organizations, including Citizen Project/VOTE!; Labor for Peace, Justice and Civil Liberties; Resource Center for Nonviolence; Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos; Santa Cruz Peace Coalition and others, the event drew people largely from the tri-county area to honor the birthday of Chavez, which falls today.
“As soon as I heard of this event I knew I would come out,” said Daniel O’Connell, a teacher who lives in Santa Cruz. Accompanied by about five of his friends in the march, O’Connell added,” I mainly wanted to show solidarity with farm workers and it felt great to be a part of this march today.”
Assemblyman Simon Salinas helped bolster the crowd’s enthusiasm at the start of the march, delivering his respects for Chavez on a bullhorn to a receptive audience.
Chavez, who lived in San Jose through the 1950s, began a widespread, nonviolent struggle to support farm workers. He eventually formed the UFW union.
The event also served as a sounding board for world peace as well as the newly introduced Senate Bill 60 that aims to expand access to drivers’ licenses. Numerous marchers and several speakers called for a quick resolution to the war in Iraq as others toted signs calling for peace.
SB 60 is an effort to help more California residents train and test for drivers’ licenses by removing immigration restrictions
“Being in this march was very rewarding, especially since I won the prize for being the last guy in the march,” said former Santa Cruz mayor Bert Muhly. “I hereby start the new group, Grandpas Against the War. The best way to support our troops is to bring them home from this foolish war. We’ve lost so much credibility around the world and the only way to get it back is to impeach this group in the White House right away.”
 
 


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