He died in 1993 but I’m still following César Chávez’s footprints.
Long before he became an international superstar, César Chávez traveled to northern Nevada on worker issues. That’s according to Reno-Sparks NAACP matriarch Dolores Feemster who met with him in the 1960s. I have been unable to find any other record but I won’t stop searching.
Reno’s first César Chávez Day was declared on 15 July 1986 by Mayor Pete Sferrazza when César came here to speak to trade unionists. History and photos of that day and all subsequent celebrations may be accessed along with event reservation info at CesarChavezNevada.com/
When the U.S. Postal Service issued a César Chávez first-class stamp in 2003, a local TV station turned it into an annual party. When the station changed hands, new owners let it drift but the Barbwire would not let it die.
Nevada César Chávez Celebration XV thus happens Wednesday, 29 March 2017 at Circus Circus Hotel-Casino in Reno. Doors to the Mandalay Ballroom open at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m.
Entertainment will again be provided by popular local musicians César Perez and Ángel Rodriguez. Ballet Folklorico de La Sierra is also making a repeat engagement after being the hit of the evening last year.
As always, the event will have both light and serious aspects. Past celebrations have included presentations from undocumented U.S. residents nicknamed “Dreamers” who came here as small children, and by supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Local and state officials are expected as usual. NevadaLabor.com César Chávez Hall of Famers Darlene Jesperson, Joe Neal and Bob Price will also attend. The event will be digitized and segments will be used in an upcoming TV special.
Former Sen. Neal is flying up from Las Vegas. His daughter, Dina, currently serves in the State Assembly. Former Assemblymember Price’s district overlapped much of Neal’s in Clark County. Price and his wife, former University of Nevada Regent Nancy Price, relocated to Sparks years ago.
Jespersen was the inaugural hall of fame inductee. She made new law and garnered worldwide attention when she sued Harrah’s for wrongful termination. A highly honored bartender for two decades, the corporation fired her for refusing to wear makeup to some ridiculous cookie-cutter standard. She made worldwide news and lots of lawbooks.
A new television campaign for César Chávez XV broke earlier this week on KTVN TV-2 sponsored by Laborers’ International Union Local 169, the major supporter of the annual event for the past decade. You may view it CesarChavezNevada.com/
Longtime Reno resident Ramon Chávez, César’s nephew, accepted the Washoe County Commission’s annual Chávez Day proclamation last week.
César Chávez’s siblings lived into their 80s. He died at 66. Ramon tells me there is no doubt that the stresses of his hunger strikes and his struggles in the fields substantially shortened his life.
Nonetheless, he lives forever and we honor and continue his work Wednesday night.
¡Sí se puede!
Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
Andres Luis Barbáno is a 48-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org> Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.