Article & Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media
“Our mission is to pay tribute and homage to the ideals of justice and non violence embodied by Cesar E. Chavez as one of the Americas’s greatest leaders, whose legacy for global working class interests and whose contributions towards peace and humanity for all should be remembered and practiced.” That was the message hundreds of people who turned out for the 16th Annual Cesar Chavez Day March in North Denver were delivering to all of humanity. Various community organizations as well as union workers to Aztec Dancers took part in this years march April 8th. Marchers carried banners to bring attention to the issues of workers and women’s rights and several as well as several causes. A military veterans group carried an upside down American flag as a sign of distress regarding the deportation of Latino military veterans.
After attending Mass at the Regis University Chapel participants marched about a mile to Cesar Chavez Park at 41st & Tennyson St. in North Denver. Marchers were met by dozens of supporters, live music by the Mighty Nice Band, breakfast burritos and beverages.
The tone for this year’s celebration of the iconic civil rights leader legacy was a more somber and serious than in year’s past as the negative impact of President Trumps policies have hit home for many. “We have allowed ourselves to rest on our laurels and let the conservative right take over” said Colorado State Representative Joe Salazar, speaking to the crowd at Cesar Chavez Park. Representative Salazar talked about the hateful and racist climate that exists in Colorado and U.S. politics and how it cannot be allowed to dominate policy as it affects Latinos, immigrants, other minorities and the working class. Salazar was awarded the Adult Male Leadership Award at the festivities becoming the first politician to be given one of the prestigious awards in the 16 years the event has been held.
“The election of Donald Trump is a wake up call for all us to to pay attention and participate in what is going on in our political environment,” said Allegra “Happy” Haynes, Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation & Deputy Mayor of the city & County of Denver. Haynes was given an Appreciation Award for her hard work and contributions to the betterment of all Denver citizens.
Appreciation Awards were also given to Councilman Rafael Espinoza, Denver City Council, District 1 and to Amanda Sandoval, Council Aide to Councilman Rafael Espinoza. Leadership Awards were also given to Patricia Robles, Adult Female, Lalo Montoya, Youth Male, Las Estrella’s Youth Female, Padres & Jovenes Unidios, Organization and the Four Winds American Indian Council, Organization.
Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media