Monday, April 13, 2009

Despite State Elimination of Funding, Cesar Chavez Devotees Rally Hard for His Legacy

Organizing Cesar Chavez Day festivities has never been harder than it was April 4, 2009.
After California established the labor and civil rights leader's March 31 birthday as a paid state holiday in 2000, the following year a parade 15,000-people strong marched along Market Street. Under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state has eliminated its entire multi-million dollar budget for supporting the holiday, including $50,000 to the city. The State of California has also decided it won't recommit funding to the Cesar Chavez Club, a statewide learn-through-service after school program in eight of the city's schools.
Organizer Eva Royale, with no cents to spend, relied this year on volunteers -- most of them stoic devotees -- to assemble a parade of only a couple thousand marchers. She's frustrated but, along with a groundswell of supporters who pushed Chavez's birthday to become a state holiday, she's determined to see the state holiday get nationalized under the supportive Obama administration.

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