Cesar Estrada Chavez was a non-violent activist whose main goal was to improve the treatment, pay, and working conditions for farm workers. To archive his goals Cesar Chavez led marches, boycotts, and several hunger strikes. Chavez’s biggest success was to create the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers.
In honor of Cesar Chavez, Western Michigan University hosts the annual Cesar Chavez March from the Bernhard Center to the downtown Bronson Park. The Cesar Chavez March took place March 28 with over 5 hundred participants. The participants were mostly students from different schools like Kalamazoo Central High School, Coldwater High School, Maple Street Middle School and many others.
The students got to wear sweaters and shirts they could purchase from their teachers in charge of the march and some even created their own design.
“I think the sweaters are awesome,” senior Macey Withrow said.
The students got a presentation from WMU staff about the University and began walking around 9:00 a.m. towards downtown Kalamazoo. After walking a mile, the students arrived at Bronson Park around 10 a.m.
Students went to eat at different fast food restaurants like McDonalds and Burger King then finished at Kalamazoo Central for a presentation by Lina Traslavina Stoner.
Lina Traslavina Stoner told the story of her life, trying to show what real beauty looks like in a different way than just physically. The presentation focused on teaching the students about the beauty of studying, being responsible, having self-esteem, and work ethics.
Elizabeth Avila said, “The struggle Lina went through made me go through many emotions.”
Loy Norrix High School was led by English teacher Steve Howell and the Nations United Club. A total of thirty-four students attended from Loy Norrix High School.
“The weather was awful,” said Howell. Student had to walk resisting cold temperatures as low as 32 degrees, sleet and at some points snow, while having to walk through puddles and in some cases slippery ice.
“The weather was interesting,” said Avila when remembering the awful weather.
The Cesar Chavez March will take place again next year and the community will be called upon to participate.
“I would go next year to see what speaker they have,” said Avila.
“I think students should participate because is a way we honor a person whose goal’s help everyone and is a way to celebrate the Hispanic culture,” said Howell.