Why is it that we could get over 300,000 people to the MLK march but we can’t get that support for the Cesar Chavez march? On more than one occasion, MLK sent a telegram to Cesar Chavez. As Chavez went through a hunger strike in the 60s, King encouraged him. “I am deeply moved by your courage in fasting as your personal sacrifice for justice through nonviolence,” the message reads. “Your past and present commitment is eloquent testimony to the constructive power of nonviolent action and the destructive impotence of violent reprisal. You stand today as a living example of the Gandhian tradition with its great force for social progress and its healing spiritual powers. My colleagues and I commend you for your bravery, salute you for your indefatigable work against poverty and injustice, and pray for your health and your continuing service as one of the outstanding men of America. The plight of your people and ours is so grave that we all desperately need the inspiring example and effective leadership you have given.”
Is it because what Cesar Chavez did not matter or is it something else? Was it because he formed the union and stood up against the federal government? Let’s talk about…

Shawn Armstrong:
“I think it just depends on what day it is. The MLK Day March is a holiday for a lot of companies and businesses and schools so those people are off work…..Now if the Cesar Chavez March is on a Saturday, Maybe people got to work on Saturday.”

Carmen Madariaga:
“All honor and respect due to Caesar Chavez. A truly great leader, a magnanimous man whose courage and sacrifice should never be forgotten! Perhaps his legacy is not being taught with the dedication his life and commitment deserve.”

Blue Rose Alvarez:
“I hear this all the time, even during the walk. Have you been to the Cesar walk? It’s been growing every year but yes, it is still a bit disorganized. Getting a ride back to the starting point is a hassle. I think once we work together to make it better, more people will be inclined to return year after year. Cesar Chavez Day is a state holiday, only recognized in a handful of states and people don’t get the day off to participate. Even if it’s on the weekend, many people still work. The only comparison to the MLK walk is that they both honor a man who worked hard to create change in the world that would improve the quality of life for others. Give it the respect it deserves. You want to make it better and bigger, then (and I agree with Ms. Madariaga) keep his legacy alive by continuing to educate people about Cesar Chavez, and why not come out to help on the day of the walk and other festivities in honor of him.”

Frank Pancho San Miguel:
“I’m going to the Cesar Chavez also doing security with my carnals, Carnalismo National Brown Berets.”

Priscilla Jones:
“Many years ago, this march was amazing. The march went blocks and blocks. Then, it became a political platform of self-interest. It no longer had a purpose. People stopped coming out.”

Elijah Gonzalez:
“This is not a parade or celebration. Maybe this year people will come out to make a statement. ‘Si se puede.’ ”

Penelope Perez:
“Farmworkers in Texas were organizing way before Cesar Chavez came on to the scene. The historical understanding of the labor struggle in Texas is completely overshadowed by the fixation on Chavez. I have a problem with the idolization of these people. The march is not really organizing or activism, it’s a parade. Chavez was an opponent of immigration of low skill workers from Mexico because he believed it did harm to U.S born chicano workers, “taking their jobs.” He and Dolores Huerta actually went to DC and lobbied Congress and the White House to end the Bracero worker program for Mexican Agricultural workers leading to the ending of the program and mass deportation of formerly legal status Mexicans. There is also an article written by Chavez in the late 50s referring to Mexican workers as “Wetbacks.” San Antonians should be celebrating the work of activists in Texas and expanding on their impact versus worshiping a false prophet and making no changes at all. The march is a tradition and it should be updated to include actual opportunities to make a change.”