César Chávez’s Birthday

Celebrating César Chávez Day

March 31, 2023

Dear Berkeley City College Community –

March 31st is César Chávez’s birthday and is recognized as a holiday to celebrate the life and legacy of the labor rights activist who led a movement representing farmworkers that began in Central California and grew to influence labor battles across the country. His ability to organize non-violent action through strikes and boycotts empowered workers to fight for legal protection, stronger rights, and better wages.

The achievements of Chávez celebrated on this day always remind me of my roots in the Central Valley. My abuelos, mom, tías, tíos, and cousins were all farmworkers, and the history of the labor movement is central to the identities of so many in my family and community at large. As March 31st is the final day of Women’s History Month, I would also like to recognize Dolores Huerta, Chávez’s invaluable ally and friend who was an organizational leader for the famed strikes and boycotts, who represented so many farmworkers at the negotiating table as a leader of the United Farmworkers Union and originated the world-famous slogan “Sí, se puede!” (Yes, We Can!)

Chávez and Huerta’s activism and tactics are the standard by which so many labor movements operate today. The energy behind the Fight for $15, Gig Workers United, and so many other current labor movements can be traced back to humble beginnings in Central California. They’re true California heroes, and I hope you take time to reflect tomorrow on their work.

I hope you’re able to take a moment to recognize the communities at Berkeley City College as a method to organize and advance opportunities for current and future generations. I am heartened by the bonds built in our learning communities, clubs, and programs by students, faculty, classified staff, and administration alike. Embodying the goal of equitable student success and completion leads to economic mobility and greater civic participation that will further progress for you, your loved ones, and friends. May the legacy of Chávez and Huerta be an inspiration for achieving that goal.

Sí, se puede!

Dr. Angélica Garcia (Pronouns: She | Her | Hers| Ella)
President, Berkeley City College

Link to previous communications