A chorus of “Si, se puede!” (Yes, it can be done!), “Abajo con la migra” (Down with the INS!), “Abajo con Bush” (Down with Bush!), and “Cesar Chavez, presente!” rang across the streets of San Juan, Texas, deep in the Rio Grand Valley on March 27, as over 500 community activists marched in an emotional celebration of the life and work of Cesar Chavez, the great labor and civil rights leader. The march proceeded to the historic San Juan United Farm Workers hall, which has been the epicenter of the Texas farm worker and Chicano struggle for many years, including while Chavez was alive.

“The struggle continues,” proclaimed Hortencia Armendariz, “and we must continue the work of our great leader.” Armendariz, a key organizer for the event, is active in the community group La Union Del Pueblo Entero (LUPE).

The festive event included games for the children, music by a local mariachi and a free meal for all who attended.

The enthusiasm was typical of the many celebrations throughout Texas.

San Antonio had a large march on March 27. The march was preceded by a March 23 dinner/dance at La Villita Assembly hall honoring Chavez and “La Causa,” at which tribute was paid to the contributions of Judge Albert Peña, Willie Velasquez, Emma Tenayuca, and Manuela Soliz Sager.

Union activists from nearby autoworkers’ locals joined in the annual parade in Fort Worth on the 27th. The parade ended with a fiesta on city property in the downtown area. Although many activists helped, the central organizer this year was the League of United Latin American Citizens. County workers in Fort Worth get a paid holiday for the birthday.

In Dallas on March 31, the Oak Cliff Coalition for the Arts presented a special tribute in the Cesar Chavez Plaza, which occupies a spot on the grounds of the city’s Farmer’s Market. Speakers included State Rep. Roberto Alonzo (D-Dallas) and the Mexican Consul.

Emcee Diana Flores, a trustee of the Dallas Community College District, asked for a show of hands from union members present. Many hands shot up, followed by a round of applause. Although another speaker had mentioned the trouble in California between Chavez’s farm worker union and a local of the Teamsters in the 1970s, Flores pointed out that other unions consistently supported Chavez’ UFW. She was especially proud of Dallas native Pancho Medrano, who represented the United Auto Workers and built solidarity with the UFW throughout the period of Cesar Chavez’ greatest accomplishments.