Paul Chavez visits Fresno State for annual Cesar Chavez commemoration


(Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)

CCGC’s Latino/a Programs and Services host its annual commemoration event of Cesar Chavez from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 22, 2023, at the Peace Gardens.

By Jazmin Alvarado Villegas, Reporter

Paul Chavez, son of iconic farm worker activist Cesar Chavez, said celebrations and commemorations in his father’s honor are the perfect way to show appreciation for the work and legacy he left behind.

Chavez said it’s really important that people understand the work his father did, and that he didn’t do it alone. He had thousands of people supporting him and that’s why he was successful, Chavez noted.

“My father challenged us to be of service to others. He really believed that the highest calling in life was to go out and make sure that the needs of others were taken care of,” he said.

On March 22, the College Assistant Migration Program (CAMP), the Latino/a Programs and Services and the Cross Cultural and Gender Center hosted the annual Cesar Chavez Commemoration ceremony.

The event was hosted at the Peace Garden, featuring a resource fair and free food.

CAMP Director Ofelia Gámez (right), Paul Chavez (center), son of farm worker activist Cesar Chavez, and Fresno State professor of emeritus Sudarshan Kapoor (right) speak at the annual commemoration of Cesar Chavez on March 22, 2023, at the Peace Gardens. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)

The ceremony began at 11 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m., with the first hour being allotted for students to enjoy beef and chicken tacos and browse the booths from university and local organizations.

The Outreach and Special Programs, Latinx sororities and fraternities, Off-Campus Student Life, CAMP, and CCGC provided information on their organizations, upcoming events, and ways they support and work in the Latinx community.

The commemoration started with Ofelia Gamez, the director of CAMP, and by Lesly Beas and Daniela Frausto-Santoyo, CCGC student coordinators for the Latino/a Programs and services.

“We hope that this event properly honors and commemorates Cesar Chavez and his legacy. It took a lot of planning and hard work to organize this event, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without CAMP or Ofelia,” Beas told The Collegian.

Gamez said events like this are important; because in order to keep legacies alive, people need to be reminded of what happened in the past, she added.

“As an adult and learning more about Cesar Chavez and his work, I am proud to provide this tribute to him on an annual basis. It is definitely reminding our community of all the work he did that is still currently helping our farmworkers,” Gamez said.

At noon, the speaker portion of the commemoration began. Beta Gamma Nu presented the national pillars and an alumnus sang the national anthem.

Fraternity members of Beta Gamma Nu, Eta Chapter hold the U.S., Mexico, California and United Farm Workers flags during the annual commemoration event of Cesar Chavez on March 22, 2023, at the Peace Gardens. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)

Gamez said a few words of thanks and introduced the next speaker, Fresno State professor emeritus Sudarshan Kapoor, who founded the Peace Garden.

“Today, we are gathered to honor, appreciate and commemorate the work of Cesar Chavez and everything he did for the community,” Kapoor said.

Carmen Iniguez, on behalf of Fresno Council president Tyler Maxwell, and Daniel Sepulveda, on behalf of congressman Jim Costa, each presented a framed certificate to Paul Chavez, promising to continue to honor Cesar Chavez.

To conclude the commemoration, the organizers, guest speakers and Paul Chavez presented the Cesar Chavez statue with a garland. Audience members were also given a red carnation at the end as well.

According to the CCGC website, some upcoming events are: a men’s discussion group on Tuesday, March 28; an API hangout on Wednesday, March 29; and a barber talk on Thursday, March 30.