César Chávez, a labor rights activist and civil rights leader, dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of farm workers in the United States. His work has left a lasting impact on American society, and his legacy continues to inspire and empower people today.
Chávez's legacy has been felt far beyond the fields of California. His work helped to establish a broader movement for social justice, and his message of nonviolent resistance has inspired countless activists around the world. Chávez also fought for environmental justice, recognizing the connection between the health of the land and the health of the people who work on it.
The legacy of César Chávez is celebrated at the University of Northern Colorado through the César Chávez Cultural Center. The center was established in 1985, and it serves as a hub for Latino and Chicano students, as well as a resource for the entire campus community. The center provides a space for students to gather, learn, and celebrate their heritage, and it offers a range of programming on topics such as immigration, social justice, and community engagement.
The César Chávez Cultural Center is a fitting tribute to Chávez's legacy. It honors his commitment to social justice and serves as a reminder that the struggle for equality and human rights is ongoing. The center's name was chosen through a campus-wide contest, and it reflects the importance of Chávez's work and his message of hope and perseverance.
This year the César Chávez Cultural Center will host the first Action Day to honor Chavez’s legacy and provide support to Al Frente de Lucha Resource Center, “an anti-colonial organization dedicated to the struggle for the self-determination and liberation of all oppressed people.” Chavez believed that no one is ever strong enough that they don’t need help, and his trust in society and his fate in humanity opened access to resources and paved the way to where we are now, shedding light on the value of support and assistance. Our work at the center will include getting their community garden cleaned and ready for planting, collecting non-perishable food items for their pantry, and handing out hygiene products to members of the community.
"When asked about leaving a legacy, I think about leading by example for future generations. Those who have long-lasting legacies are people who have put in an incredible amount of effort to strive for something better. As graduation approaches, I am especially cognizant of my own legacy. At the Chávez Center, I hope my legacy continues through all of my contributions to the center. When thinking about previous staff members I notice their legacy through the small details: art pieces that hang on the walls, or chants that we say at the end of our meetings. I hope that my legacy carries on through similar touches that are so deeply embedded in the center. I hope that my legacy can continue through projects I have started that can develop over time. All of these elements are key to what makes the center so impactful. This is one of the few spaces where Latino students can be authentically themselves. The strong personal connection each of our students have to the center is what creates such a meaningful environment." - UNC student Isabela Bernal.
The legacy of César Chávez is one of resilience, courage, and dedication to social justice. His work continues to inspire and empower people today, and the César Chávez Cultural Center at the University of Northern Colorado is a testament to his lasting impact. As we continue to fight for a more just and equitable society, we can look to Chávez's example as a guide and a source of inspiration.
- Sign up to volunteer with the Cesar Chavez Cultural Center
- Watch “Dolores” a documentary on the life of Dolores Huerta
- Watch this Spanish documentary on the life of Cesar Chavez (Youtube) Viva la causa! La lucha no-violenta de César Chávez
- Read the oral history of the Cesar Chavez Cultural Center named back then as “The Hispanic Cultural Center.”
- Attach the César Chávez design elements to your email signature and/or use it in your social media
For additional education and personal development related to diversity, equity and inclusion, the following resources are available: DEI Education and Resources, DEI & Antiracism Resourcesfrom the UNC Libraries, the Education Equity Toolkitfrom the Colorado Department of Higher Education, and the UNITE workshops for faculty, staff, and students.