24th Annual Cesar Chavez March Expected to Draw Thousands

The 24th annual Cesar Chavez March for Justice is scheduled Sunday in the Northeast San Fernando Valley followed by a cultural festival at Ritchie Valens Park.

A rally at the march starting point, Brand Park in Mission Hills, is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. The keynote speech will be given by Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers of America, the union co-founded by Chavez.

The 3-mile procession to Ritchie Valens Park in Pacoima is set to start at 11 a.m. Organizers said they expect approximately 2,000 people.

The festival will include food vendors, musical performances and folkloric dancers. Planned speakers include Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-Pacoima, and San Fernando Mayor Robert Gonzalez.

The rally and march comes five days before the anniversary of Chavez's birth in 1927, a state holiday in California.

"The annual March for Justice represents our need to continue the struggle for social justice,'' said Ruben Rodriguez, executive director of Pueblo y Salud, one of the march's organizers.

"This year, we're seeing more young people, more youth involved in the struggle and it is due to the world that we're living in right now where it feels like our communities are being attacked and where decisions being made are affecting our low-income communities and our immigrant communities negatively.

"Indicators tell us that there will be a much higher attendance this year. We're happy to hear that because it also tells us that Cesar Chavez's legacy is being kept alive by today's generations who continue to see value in Cesar Chavez's nonviolent approach -- a very powerful tool for our communities who are facing incredible odds. Cesar Chavez taught us that individual people, organized, can make a difference."

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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