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News: Dr. Mark Rocha: Channeling Chávez

César Chávez

Pasadena, Calif. - On Friday morning at the Arclight Theater in Pasadena, the Cross Cultural Center, PCC Flea Market and the Office of Student Life sponsored a special premier screening of the new movie, César Chávez, for PCC faculty, staff and students.  I thank these organizations for their generosity and also for supporting our community in our continuing need to keep the great César Chávez an active presence in our lives.

Like the farm workers of the 1960’s for whom César Chávez fought, we have many workers in our community today who would have been close to his heart—and action.  Chávez was indeed a union organizer but he was first and foremost a non-violent activist for social justice.  Were he still with us today he would be on the side of the hotel workers in Los Angeles who seek a living wage; he would support health care for all as a basic human right; he would oppose a system in which Chicanos and other young men of color enter prisons at higher rates than college; he, like Dr. King, would have argued against borrowing billions for wars overseas, while we cut funding to schools and children.

Indeed, Chávez believed that the very purpose of education was social justice.  So in the 1970’s he helped found an accredited college, Colegio César Chávez, which was far ahead of its time because its curriculum essentially was about the teaching and learning of building a truly sustainable community in every sense of the word.  For Chávez sustainability involved much more than the stewardship of natural resources but the stewardship of our human resources,  As he said many times, “It is never about grapes; it is always about people.”

Each year the César Chávez holiday comes to call us to account.  Each year Chávez’s spirit finds us wanting in meeting the ideals of our social justice mission here at PCC; at the same time Chávez compassionately urges us onward to stay true to the cause and keep trying.  I am so proud of Pasadena City College’s long, rich history of social justice that reaches back to the 1920’s when the children of migrant farm workers were educated in the Chihuahita School, a plaque for which we dedicated at our CEC in 2010.  Let us continue to use PCC’s proud past as a resource for creating a global future in which Chavez’s vision of a truly just, truly sustainable community is realized.

¡Si se puede!

Release Date: 03/29/2014
Contact: Dr. Valerie Wardlaw , Interim Director, Public Relations
Phone: (626) 585-7468
Email: vxwardlaw@pasadena.edu