Thursday, April 02, 2009

Acknowledging the work of César Chávez

It's not hard to figure out that we value the things that we know and are most familiar with. Unfortunately, it has not been until fairly recently that the contributions of people of color have been deemed important.

In 2009 we still live in a segregated society. Sometimes we don't even recognize how segregated we are. Look at your neighborhood. Count the people on your street who don't look like you. Go to church. Count the people at your church who don't look like you. (before you answer that you have diversity in your community or your church, let me clarify. Having one or two families does not count as diversity.).

It's not that people of color haven't contributed any knowledge to society. We simply don't recognize their contributions. Our history books and other text books are slowly getting better, but they, for the most part, credit the major contributions to White males.

In a blog post on March 29, I showed where technology is headed. At the end of the video, you can see the guy who created the amazing system. I'm guessing he's Indian-American. I have heard little about him or his amazing innovation, but much about Bill Gates. It's just the way we work.

All of that to say that it's good to see more people of color in leadership who will challenge us to recognize the efforts of so many others we have disregarded all of these years. So I thank Dr. Hinojosa for pledging to make March 31 a recognition day for and education day about César Chávez. I hope the rest of us will follow this lead and learn more about the depth of what he contributed to our country.

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A Proud Day for Dallas...
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
By Alberto E. Ruiz


Starting today, Dallas ISD students will celebrate the legacy of one of our nation's great civil right leaders by learning about his important life's work. Julian Resendiz of Al Dia reported that César Chávez would no longer be a mystery for students in the 5th grade of Dallas public schools. "Every year on March 31st", stated Michael Hinojosa, DISD superintendant, "our young people will be given special lessons on service and learning through school curriculum." The entrenched superintendant added, "There are things that I can control and this is one of them." He told a crowd at the Latino Cultural Center during the Cesar Chavez Arts Tribute on Sunday.

"It was something that the community sugested. People came to us, some of our administrators studied it and said, 'Claro que sí, sí se puede hacer'", said Hinojosa. "It's a good recommendation and right on time, since we are celebrating his birthday."

While Dallas ISD plans to implement Chávez in it's curriculum, the Mayor and City Councilmembers proclaimed March 31st as César Chávez Day in the nation's 9th largest metropolitan area. The detailed proclamation was read by Councilmembers, Dr. Elba Garcia an Steve Salazar, during the event that the LCC. Dallas remains the only city out of the nation's top 10 without a major thoroughfare in honor of the civil rights icon.

A mass also took place at the Cathedral of Guadalupe on Saturday morning, which was followed by a march led by LULAC District 3 and the Dallas Peace Center. After arriving at the Farmer's Martket against a strong and cold wind, students and adults listened as Ft. Worth State Representative Lon Burnam stated, I'm not your representative but on behalf of your sister city to the west I want you to know that you deserve to be heard and to have the street that you desire for César Chávez."

Pondering the May elections for city council, the state of our economy and our nation's renewed trust in social justice advocates and unity coalitions. Indeed, it is a proud day in Dallas, where despite a heavy hand over the mouth of residents, together we shouted: Si se puede, Yes we can!

Below are details of the Tribute that took place on Sunday, March 29 at the Latino Cultural Center.
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