Tucson’s Cesar Chavez march says “Save ethnic studies”

TUCSON, Ariz. – On Saturday, March 26th, Tucson celebrated the legacy of Cesar Chavez with the 11th Annual Cesar Chavez March and Rally.  The two-mile march started at Pueblo High School and ended at Rudy Garcia Park.

This year’s theme – “Save ethnic studies” – was in response to the draconian HB 2281 legislation, which would ban all ethnic studies from being taught in schools.

The Republican leadership at the State Capitol, who pushed the law, didn’t even take into consideration that students who enrolled in ethnic studies courses continued their education beyond high school more than those who had not.  HB 2281 is nothing more than Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne’s personal vendetta against the Tucson Unified School District and its students.

Before the march began, the Aztec Dancers called the community together with their up-tempo opening ceremony of the Dance of the Hummingbird, followed by an opening prayer.

Several local dignitaries and Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva spoke to the marchers on such topics as the legacy and spirit of Cesar Chavez, unions, ethnic studies, voting, children’s education and our future.

The march started with the Aztec Dancers leading the procession of over 300people.  Tucson students kept everyone’s spirits up with chants like, “Education, not deportation!” Children and parents shared this day with recently established traditions: families come out, enjoy their time together and always remember the moment for generations to come.

A constant face in Tucson marches for the past year has been the Brown Berets, who help in peacekeeping with their silent demeanor but strong presence.  Along with the Tucson unit was another unit, recently formed, from Tolleson, Ariz.

Upon arriving at Rudy Garcia Park, the smell of food was in the air and music could be heard. People at the park welcomed the marchers with applause and cheers as family and friends were united again.

All in all, the Cesar Chavez March and Rally never disappoints anyone, whether they are marching for the first time or are veterans.  Cesar Chavez would be smiling as his message of dignity, justice and nonviolence are practiced to this very day by many people of different colors and backgrounds.  As long as there is one man, woman or child who is being treated unfairly by anyone, there is someone who will stand up for them and give them a hand-up, pat on the back and an encouraging word.  That is the spirit of Cesar Chavez, in each and every one of us.