Community comes together to honor Cesar Chavez Day through a day of service

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 5:47 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The late Cesar Chavez was a labor leader, civil rights activist, and an Arizona native. President Obama declared March 31 Cesar Chavez day in 2014, so far the holiday is only recognized in ten states, including Arizona.

On Monday, volunteers, local organizations, and city leaders came together to cleanup the El Paso and Southwestern Greenway path ahead of Cesar Chavez Day.

Volunteers picked up trash, pulled weeds, and paved the way for more people in the community to enjoy the area.

“We came together on this day to put in work for our community and I think that’s what it’s about,” said David Garcia, founder of Barrio Restoration.

A day of service and working together to beautify the community - that’s the goal of Barrio Restoration along with FUGA and BICAS. They partnered with the office of Lane Santa Cruz, Corazon Latino, and the National Park Service to make the clean up possible. Vice Mayor, Lane Santa Cruz says this area was chosen for a reason.

“It’s supposed to be a connection to all the barrios in our city, but then you have it and it’s been neglected or it gets neglected. It’s important for us to say ‘no, we’re not going to take that just because it’s on this side of town.’ We want to see it maintained,” she said.

The El Paso and Southwestern Greenway is a six mile multi-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians. It connects to other paths, making it easier to move through the city without a vehicle.

“We’ve got a lot of potential, a lot of heart, a lot of culture, but we’re on the grind day to day. So I think it’s important for you to invest in the community, give back to your community and be that spark your neighborhood needs,” Garcia said.

A spark in the community, like Cesar Chavez paving the way for farmers, who worked to put food on people’s tables but went hungry themselves. To this day, the American Farmworkers Association is still active in empowering migrant farmworkers: improving pay and conditions. But the union has branched out to become a voice on political and social issues.

“For me it’s about the labor struggle, organizing to make sure that people have good, safe working conditions and safe housing. It also for me means that, no individuals do things on their own, but it takes a community of people coming together to bring about change,” Cruz said.

And through this community clean up, these organizations hope to educate more people on the importance of Cesar Chavez day.

″I don’t think enough people know what he did. There’s definitely a lot of history there that a lot of us don’t know and I think it’s important to share this day and show people why we’re off today and what we’re doing today,” Garcia said.

And if you want to help our these organizations in the future, you can find it here: Barrio Restoration, FUGA, BICAS.

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