The life and legacy of the late labor leader and activist César E. Chávez was celebrated when the Chicano Latino Caucus of San Bernardino County and the Latino Education & Advocacy Days at Cal State San Bernardino presented recently the 12th annual César E. Chávez Memorial Breakfast at the university’s Santos Manuel Student Union South.
The breakfast on April 1 marked the first time since 2019 that the breakfast took place. Traditionally scheduled to commemorate Chávez’s birthday (March 31) and held as part of LEAD Week – a week-long series of events including the LEAD Summit that focused on Latino educational issues – it was canceled in 2020, 2021 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the LEAD Summit has been rescheduled to take place in the fall.
Taking place the day after the state holiday honoring the life and work of Chávez, the breakfast was emceed by Eloise Gómez Reyes, a member of the California Assembly majority leader who represents southwest San Bernardino County.
Ron Estrada, CEO of Washington, D.C.,-based Farmworker Justice, was the keynote speaker. Estrada, a longtime voice in support of underserved people and communities of color in the U.S., has invested decades in issues related to racial and social justice. Prior to joining Farmworker Justice in March 2022, he was the head of government relations at Univision Communications, and also led the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Empowerment initiatives.
Also speaking at the breakfast was Flor Martinez, founder and president of The Celebration Nation Foundation, a San Jose-based nonprofit organization focused on helping the indigenous and Latino community. A former farmworker with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, Martinez is also now an entrepreneur and social media influencer.
In addition, the event featured the installation of Chicano Latino Caucus of San Bernardino County’s new officers, a video by artist Juan Solis, a performance by Ballet Folklorico de Gary Ferrer and presentation of the Muñoz Legacy and Lifetime Achievement Award.
Former California Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation in 2002 making Chávez’s birthday a state holiday to promote service to the communities of California in honor of the late labor leader’s life and work.