Students march to remember Cesar Chavez

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by Sandra Haros/KTAR (March 31st, 2011 @ 11:18am)

PHOENIX — Thousands of kids took to the streets of Phoenix Thursday to observe Cesar Chavez Day, honoring the civil rights activist and founder of the United Farm Workers Union.

Alejandro Chavez, grandson of the labor leader, said the day celebrates his grandfather’s vision which was “not being different because your skin’s born or because you come from a poor neighborhood or because you come from a South Mountain school or because you come from a poor school.”

Alejandro participated in the march through south Phoenix of about 2,000 students from nine schools. It began at Cesar Chavez Community School.

“This year, it’s actually bigger than ever before,” Alejandro said. “The Suns are involved, the Diamondbacks are involved.”

He added that city officials would be there. Mayor Phil Gordon said on Twitter Thursday morning, “Thinking about Cesar Chavez and his inspiration.”

Alejandro Chavez said his grandfather believed in having a voice and the march gave kids the opportunity to have one.

“It’s always nice that children can have something to march for, something positive which, I think right now in everything we see in Arizona, it’s important that we have a positive message for young students.”

He said his grandfather believed in equality, in workers having a voice and a “yes, we can” attitude.

“He was about the community coming together, he was about everyone coming together and sharing a vision. He was a common man with an uncommon vision and I hope we keep that Cesar Chavez spirit alive.”

Chavez was born near Yuma on March 31, 1927. He grew up in Arizona and later moved to California. In 1962, Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers.