In April 2001, a group of dedicated individuals and organizations started meeting with one purpose: to create a paid holiday in Pima County in honor of labor leader and co-founder of the United Farm Workers, César E. Chávez. This group consisted of educators, community activists and leaders, faith-based and indigenous organizations, labor leaders, local businesses and non-profits, veterans, and individuals determined to honor the legacy of César E. Chávez.
The group started a county-wide campaign consisting of petition gathering, cultural and educational events, and letter writing and phone call efforts to educate, inform and motivate the Pima County Board of Supervisors to vote for a César E. Chávez Holiday.
In October 2001, with leadership from Supervisors Raúl M. Grijalva and Dan Eckstrom, in front of a standing room only County Supervisors meeting, the holiday was passed 3-2.
Instead of resting on this achievement, the Coalition decided to sponsor the César E. Chávez Youth Leadership Conference in April 2002 at the Pima Community College Desert Vista Campus. The goal of the conference is to teach youth about community leadership, history of the labor movement, basics of organizing, civil rights education, and cultural diversity and awareness.
Using existing community resources, financial support from sympathetic organizations, and the skill and determination of members within the group, a true coalition has been formed for the benefit of youth and the community.
It is our goal to mobilize Arizona, and eventually the nation, to honor the life and legacy of César E. Chávez with a holiday every March 31st.
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