California State University, Fresno’s celebration of the legacy of César Chávez begins today (March 23) with an education conference and will be highlighted on Thursday, March 29, with the garlanding of the Chávez monument in the campus Peace Garden.

The university will be closed on Friday, March 30, in observance of the state holiday enacted by the Legislature in 2001 commemorating the March 31 birthday of the founder of the United Farm Workers union who visited the Fresno State campus several times.

Chávez and the UFW enjoyed strong Fresno State student support in the union’s campaign to improve conditions for farmworkers and open doors to higher education for their children. He died April 23, 1993.

National Farmworkers Awareness Week is being observed March 25-31 including a celebration March 30 in La Paz that Fresno State students will join.

At Fresno State, the César Chávez Education Conference, sponsored by the Kremen School of Education and Human Development begins at 3 p.m. today and continues at 8 a.m. Saturday in the Kremen Education Building Rooms 54 and 58. Registration is on the first floor.

Beginning Monday, March 26, an exhibit depicting the history of farmworkers and the César Chávez Exhibit will be on display daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the University Student Union Pavilion and the Free Speech Area.

On Tuesday, March 27, the “El Movimiento” rally will be held at 11:30 a.m. in the Rose Garden, followed by a panel discussion on farmworkers at noon in the Free Speech Area.

On Wednesday, March 28, Floricanto Night begins at 7 p.m. in the USU Pit with the theme, “When Dreams Become Art.”

On Thursday, March 29, a full day of activities begins in the Free Speech Area with the Campesino Altar Display from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Chávez Monument in the Peace Garden where a farmworker information table also will be set up.

At 11:45 a.m., the Fresno State ROTC Color Guard will present U.S. colors with Escolta, a student Mexican color guard, presenting the Mexican colors. Both the U.S. and Mexican national anthems will be sung. Winners of essay and poetry contests will be announced followed by “Prayer of the Farmworkers.”

Thursday’s activities will culminate at approximately 12:45 p.m. with the annual garlanding ceremony and flower offerings at the Chávez monument, led by Dr. Sudarshan Kapoor, founder of the Peace Garden and friend of Chávez.

All campus events, which are organized by a committee of student organizations, faculty and staff, are free and open to the public.

On Friday, March 30, nearly 50 Fresno State students will travel to the National Chávez Center in La Paz (in Kern County) for “A Day of Service” in commemoration of Chávez’s legacy. A $5 donation is requested. The center provides scholarships for the bulk of the expenses. For more information about this specific event, call 559.730.1471.

Fresno State Sponsors: Associated Students, Inc., University Migrant Services, Trabajadores de la Raza, Gamma Zeta Alpha, Teatro T.O.R.T.I..L.L.A., Los Danzantes De Aztlan, MEChA, Las Gritonas de Fresno State, Nu Alpha Kappa, Migrant Student Alliance, COSECHA, Phi Lambda Rho, Sigma Omega Nu, Lambda Theta Phi, CAMP, CASSA, CLAS Department, MESA Engineering Program, SHPE, Es-Tu-Dios, First Nations, Dr. L. Alamillo, Dr. Kapoor, Student Success Services, Division of Student Affairs

For more information about the education conference, contact Dr. Laura Alamillo at 559.278.0280 or visit:

For information about the weeklong observance, contact Raul Moreno at 559.278.5750.

(University Communications student-intern Megan Jacobsen contributed to this story).

Rain contingency: “Celebrating the Legacy of César E. Chávez” observance exhibits are on display this week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily in the University Student Union Pavilion and the Free Speech Area at Fresno State. In the event of rain, the Free Speech Area exhibits will be moved into University Student Union, Room 312.

For more information contained in this release, please go to the following Web site(s):