CAMP set to honor Cesar Chavez
The University of Idaho’s College Assistance Migrant Program is preparing to hold its fifth annual celebration in honor of Cesar Chavez on March 31.
Cesar Chavez, a migrant farm worker who became a civil rights leader, founded and led the organization that became the United Farm Workers of America.
“In the 1950s and ‘60s, migrant farm workers would come to the United States in search of a better life for their families, but they didn’t know what their rights were — or even that they had them,” said Jesse Martinez, CAMP program coordinator. “Chavez stood up for these workers and gave them a voice through the United Farm Workers of America.”
According to Martinez, CAMP students have committed time and effort throughout the school year to making this celebration possible. CAMP requires their students to research Chavez’s life and work, and it also requires service-learning work.
“Coming from a migrant background, I’ve learned to respect Cesar Chavez’s vision for higher education for the next generations of field workers,” said Maritza De Loera, a CAMP student majoring in international studies. “He and many others fought to protect the migrant working community and I hope this celebration gives one a view of how proud we are about that and what we want to bring to the university.”
‘Feast from the Fields,’ an all-day celebration of Cesar Chavez’s life, will be held at the Idaho Commons and Student Union Building Ballroom.
Martinez said CAMP students took initiative immediately when they began planning for the celebration, and that the event has been student-led and student-driven.
A Mariachi Huenachi dance team from Wenatchee High School is coming to dance for guests and otherwise take part in the festivities, De Loera said.
CAMP students will be holding several small presentations in the Commons Food Court during the day. The Mariachi Huenachi dancers will be dancing throughout the presentations.
“The real fun begins at 3 p.m., when dinner is served for guests and they get to learn more about Cesar Chavez at an event in the ballroom,” Martinez said. “We’ll have several guest speakers, including keynote speakers Meghan Cohorst and Gerardo Reyes, great music and even a small play is set to be performed.”
A dance is scheduled after the dinner and presentations from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., with music provided by the Mariachi Huenachi dancers.
The funding for this celebration of Cesar Chavez has been made possible through several grants, including the DIG Grant of $5,000. De Loera said between $9,000 and $10,000 has been raised so far, and that she and other CAMP students are still applying for more grants and writing letters to different departments asking them to help if they can.
The response from departments across campus has been very supportive so far, De Loera said.
Martinez said the dance will be free, if enough money is raised by the time of the event.