March 31 César Chávez Day of Service and Learning

Chávez and Farmworker.
Source: San Francisco State University Chavez Gallery

By Margaret Hill, Ph.D.
History-Social Science Coordinator
San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools

Senate Bill 984 which was signed by Governor Davis in August 2000 called for the creation of a holiday and a service opportunity in public schools commemorating César Chávez Day of Service and Learning, March 31.

Along with Martin Luther King Jr., César Chávez was one of the most significant civil rights figures in the second half of the 20th century. Both controversial leaders during their life times, they advocated a nonviolent path to correct social injustice and improve conditions for the oppressed. César Chávez focused the eyes of the nation on the conditions of America's farmworkers...the grinding poverty, the conditions in the fields, the effects of constant exposure to pesticides, and the lack of protection under labor law. Chávez was working in the apricot orchards outside San Jose in 1952 when he became involved in community organizing. Ten years later, he founded a union with a goal of improving the lives of California farm workers. He was still doing that work when he died in 1993.

Students throughout California will be learning about Chávez this March and dedicating at least one day to community service in his honor. These lessons and web resources were designed to assist teachers in this year's commemoration of César Chávez Day.

César Chávez Day by San Diego County Office of Education
Information and Resources for Educators

César Chávez Day Model Curriculum

César E. Chávez by County of L.A. Public Library

Powerful Consumers: Exploring Boycotts, Past and Present

Work Forced: Exploring Issues Facing Young Farm Workers

Crossing the Line: A Tribute to César Chávez - An American Hero

Alfredo Figueroa Blythe California
Farm Worker Organizer Since 1960