“¡Muy bien! ¡Gracias! ¡Adios!” How many times have we used these words in our lifetime, sometimes unconsciously? Latin American culture has become a part of United States, yet not one important hispanic leader is honored with a holiday in the Castro Valley Unified School District (CVUSD). Through the voices of the Latinos United Club in CVHS, a petition was passed around to make Cesar Chavez’s birthday a day off in school for remembrance and service.
Latinos United Club President Andrés Gonzalez and Vice President, J.P. Paz talked to district representatives about the petition on Feb. 7.
Chavez was an influential Mexican American leader and civil rights activist who turned around the inequity of farmers through non-violent, powerful words of action. He became the backbone of the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) in 1962.
Chavez and fellow activist Dolores Huerta led social protests for the farm workers’ working conditions, wages, discrimination in employment, and sexual harassment of female workers. Currently the NFWA is integrated with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) and is more commonly known as the United Farm Workers.
We at The Olympian support the overall idea but are much concerned about one issue. Taking the day off on March 31 requires postponing other dates in the district calendar. This may result in an later start of summer vacation, later finishing school, or taking another break one day shorter. The number of days in a school year does not change and some students dislike modifications that may alter their vacation plans.
From a different point of view, however, no holidays are currently scheduled in March. Having a break may be a relief to students and staff.
The Olympian also looks at the petition in wider perspectives. Chavez’s birthday is not solely one day from 365; it typifies millions of the working people and shows respect to Latinos. The Latinos United Club craves to bring attention to Latino culture by educating young people in a way that will be noticeable.
If the school board decides to dismiss the idea, we at The Olympian suggest that schools give Chavez more recognition in class and honor him without cancelling school.