IMPERIAL, Calif.–Students, faculty, and friends gathered in the college center of Imperial Valley College to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day on Thursday.
Opening the celebration, was a performance by Mariachi Mixteco, followed by guest speaker Esteban Jaramillo, a comrade of the late labor rights leader.
Jaramillo participated in many marches with Chavez, and Chavez unionize farm labor.
Jaramillo’s inspiration for wanting to help the farm-working community came from his father. “I worked in the fields with my father for one day,” Jaramillo said. “That’s all it took. Then I knew I wanted to help improve the terrible conditions that my father and the farmers were working in.”
Chavez passed away in 1993, after three decades of fighting for the rights of migrant farm workers. His first union organization was the National Farm Workers Association which aimed to improve farm workers’ wages, safety, and working conditions. Chavez is known for his motto, “Si, Se Puede” (Yes, it can be done).