CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Civil rights and their impact has has a lot of meaning in American history for minorities, blue collared workers and small communities. For Hispanic communities, the name César Chávez is as notable as Martin Luther King Jr.
Chávez, an Latino civil rights and labor leader,helped bring about change for laborer and farm workers by forming unions, organizing strikes, leading boycotts and more. His name is atched into the history books as a "heroic figure ofAmerican civil rights.
The Westside Business Association hosted the 22nd annual César Chávez Marcha and Festival on Saturday at the Antonio E. Garcia Arts and Education Center.
“Today we’re having three events to honor the life and legacy of César Chávez who founded the United Farm Workers of Americas and fought adamantly to ensure farm workers had decent working conditions and decent salaries,” Dr. Nancy Vera said.
Vera is the president of the Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers and the chair of the César Chávez committee.
Vera also told KRIS 6 News that Chávez is her role model.
“He did so much for others and very little for himself and that’s the sort of thing I want to emulate,” Vera said.
Many others at the event, like Sister Norma Pimentel, are passionate about social justice, peace, and humanitarianism. Sister Pimentel is the executive director for Catholic charities in the Rio Grande Valley and was the keynote speaker for the event.
“It is important that we stand up and be one community, one presence that defends life and human dignity and justice for all," Pimentel said. "I’m so glad that they invited me and that I’m a part of this.”
With so many different groups and organizations in the same room, Pimentel said that Chavez’s efforts have come a long way.
“We were able to identify certain people who have committed themselves for many years here in Corpus Christi helping especially the most vulnerable and most fragile,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel and other community leaders received an award to thank them for their contribution as they continue to make a difference in the Coastal Bend community.