by David Safier
Friday night was the Tucson premier of the new César Chávez film at the Harkin Theater, sponsored by the Arizona César E. Chávez Holiday Coalition. It was a great turnout, a nearly full house in one of Harkin's larger theaters, with a few empty seats in the front rows.
It's a good film, well worth seeing. For someone like me who is Hispanic-history-challenged and is trying to fill in the gaps, it provided a factual and emotional sense of the beginnings of the United Farm Workers, some of which I knew, some of which was new to me. And in a country which gives Martin Luther King his due, a film like this is long overdue. It helps give Chávez the recognition he deserves, alongside King, for his successful fight to bring greater economic and social justice in our country. Long after the film has left the theaters, I hope it will become a regular part of history classes in schools around the country.
Saturday morning was the annual César Chávez March. It began at Pueblo Magnet High with dance and speeches. During the bad old days of the Mexican American Studies struggles a few years ago, the march was banned from the school grounds because people might say things the administration didn't want to hear. Today, one of the speakers was TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez who supports the march wholeheartedly and said, on his watch, the marchers will always be welcome at Pueblo High.
The 300+ participants (it was hard to get an accurate count) marched and chanted along the two mile route to Rudy Garcia Park, then listened to music and chatted in the mild spring weather.
A César Chávez holiday created by the city council. A new film. A spirited march. Altogether a good month for the Chávez legacy.