Stockton, CA — “…Bless the workers and bless those who are in power…” said Stephen Blair, Bishop Dioceses of Stockton as he blessed the field workers and working families. The blessing was during the Cesar Chavez Prayer breakfast during the morning of March 26, 2016.
Annually the Mexican Heritage Center and Gallery hosts a breakfast in observance of “Cesar Chavez’ birthday and to honor the hard work of field workers with a prayer,” explained Gracie Madrid, President of the Mexican Heritage Center and Gallery (MHC&G); adding, “often young people think of Cesar Chavez as the boxer, not the civil rights activist who built a movement for field worker rights.”
“My parents wanted us to live here [In the U.S.] because they wanted a better future for us…” Explained Roberto Valdes Sanchez artist exhibiting at MHC&G, and keynote speaker. Valdez remembers learning about Cesar Chavez in 1983, “To me he is the most influential leader in U.S. History… He did more for Latinos than any other person in the history of the United States.”
Jose Lopez, Youth Programs Coordinator of the Diocese of Stockton remembers Cesar Chavez when he saw him in south Stockton’s McKinley Park. “He told us, ‘newborn puppies open their eyes during the first 3 days and when will you do it?’ those words will forever be remembered, because he was inviting us to wake up and to fight for our rights,” Chavez’s words are, “embedded well and are very important.”
For Tatiana Garcia, 11th grade student at Venture Academy the conversation and the art, hits close to home. “My family has been working on the fields, Cesar Chavez’s work impacted our family as well as many other,” Garcia appreciated the program and Valdes’ art. “He has a lot of talent. I am impressed by his pencil work.”
MHC&G is open all year with different monthly exhibits by artist, community members and educational programs. The Gallery is located at 111 S. Hunter Street, Stockton, CA 95202.