This article was written by BenitoLink intern Juliana Luna
On March 27, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of San Benito County held a Walk a Mile in His Shoes Walk-A-Thon at Apricot Park in Hollister in honor of civil rights activist and United Farm Workers co-founder Cesar Chavez’s birthday (March 31).
Approximately 60 people participated in the walk. As they moved along the River Park Trail by the San Benito River, they waved the United Farm Workers’ red flag, and chanted “Que viva César Chávez,” “Se ve se siente, Cesar Chavez está presente,” and “Si se Puede.”
Participants said they learned of the event through social media, friends and a radio host. The event brought out enough people that passersby stopped to admire their chantings.
Soul Tein recently moved out from San Jose to Hollister, and told BenitoLink that the group chose a good spot to walk. He said the trail was a perfect place to relax amid beautiful scenery, and that he goes there every day. He said that he’d love to attend the next march.
Ignacio Hurtado Vargas carried a poster celebrating Chavez, who died in 1993. He said the school district had informed him of the event via notifications, so he came with his wife and son. He added that coming out as a group sends a great message.
“Esto es lo mejor que puede hacer el ser humano cuando tienen diferencias en vez de ser guerras.” (This is the best thing humankind can do when there are differences, instead of wars.)
His poster proclaimed that Chavez’s legacy lives on.
“Es un honor para Cesar Chavez, y todos que lucharon, porque en realidad el cerro sus ojos, pero continua de vivir, el mensaje para el mismo que la “guerra/lucha” continua, no físicamente pero mentalmente,” he said. (It is in honor of Cesar Chavez and everybody that fought because even though he closed his eyes, he continues to live. The message lives on that the fight continues, not physically but mentally.)
Some participants were involved with Chavez’s efforts to improve labor rights for farmworkers. Jamie Salazar came from Texas with her family to Marin County. She said they lived in labor camps and were one of the first farm labor unions to be established, at the same time Chavez began to form United Farm Workers. Salazar said her father was asked by Chavez to unite the groups.
“Back then families would get involved, I remember every detail,” Salazar said. “My dad always made sure we [me and my sister] went with him to all the rallies and meetings.
Like others, Salazar shared the same thoughts about the location of the walk. It would have been nice to go where they could gather attention, she said, somewhere near the fields where farmworkers could see them, “so they could see that if they need help, it is still available to them.”
The meaning of marching signifies more to Salazar. “We’re still alive, we still exist,” she said. “It was nice to get that feeling of it again, the marching, the unity, all together.”
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