Cesar Chavez

cb cesarUSEIn celebration of the new film Cesar Chavez, a biopic of the famed civil rights leader and farm labor organizer by actor-turned-director Diego Luna, The Del Mar Theatre is hosting a special event on opening night, Friday, March 28.

The event will feature live music by an acoustic band playing huelga (strike) songs from the 1960s and 1970s and a Q&A session with some of Chavez’s locally based close friends and colleagues following the 7:15 p.m. showing.

The free discussion will include civil rights photographer Bob Fitch, who documented the labor leader and the union he co-founded, the National Farm Workers Association (later changed to United Farm Workers of America), for seven years and whose portrait of Chavez was the basis for the commemorative U.S. postage stamp issued in 2002.

Author and former Chavez Secretary/right-hand woman Susan Samuels Drake, former UFW Director in Salinas Jerry Kay (who started in the movement leading boycotts of grapes and lettuce in San Francisco and New York), and former UFW Organizer Francisco Serna will also be on hand to share their views of the film, how it compares to their personal experiences of Chavez and what the local labor movement looks like now.

Information from event partners El Centro: Chicano Latino Resource Center at UC Santa Cruz, Barrios Unidos, the Reel Work Film Festival and The Monterey Bay Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO) will be available at tables set up in the Del Mar mezzanine before and after the film.

Patrons will also be able to purchase a personalized Cesar Chavez poster, with proceeds going to the Resource Center for Nonviolence.

With just an eighth grade education and espousing tactics of non-violence—such as boycotts, strikes, and fasts—the Arizona-born Chavez was able to improve working conditions for a whole class of workers that had been largely ignored by mainstream America. But it is perhaps his motto, “Si Se Puede” (”yes, it can be done”), that is the most lasting piece of his legacy. A hopeful refrain for those who desire change in the face of almost insurmountable odds, it is heard at protest rallies everywhere and was the chosen campaign slogan for then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008.

For further information about the screening, visit thenick.com.

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