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César E. Chávez Monument Dedication

Monday, September 8, 2008

On Thursday, September 4, President Whitmore addressed 300 dignitaries and community members who attended the dedication ceremony for The César E. Chávez Monument: Arch of Dignity, Equality and Justice designed by artist Judith F. Baca. The president focused on why San José State is an excellent home for this striking piece of public art. The event was held outdoors near the monument, and was preceded by a Native American Four Directions Blessing by Calpulli Tonalehqueh, an Aztec dance group that performed in traditional costumes. Read more about The César E. Chávez Monument.

Native American Four Directions Blessing
Native American Four Directions Blessing. Photo: Robert Bain, SJSU Photographic Services.

"Here in San José, where César Chávez began his early organizing work with the Community Service Organization, and where he is known and remembered personally by so many of you, we believe it is fitting to have a permanent monument to his work and his life. Over the years, many San José State students were directly involved in the farm workers movement, in forming the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, and participating significantly in the local grape boycott. Thus, this monument is an important public recognition of our region's history ...

Yet, there is another reason why we choose to honor César Chávez at San José State. For more than a century, this has been a campus where students, faculty and staff have voiced their strong opinions on local and global issues, and have been active instruments of change ... The point is, this is a campus where social justice is not just a phrase -- it lives. What better place, then, to bring honor and attention to César Chávez, a man who made improving the lives of others his central and abiding life work? As people walk our campus, as they visit the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, as they stand in front of the Smith-Carlos sculpture down the way, and as they come under this arch, we hope that they all may be enlightened and inspired by these remarkable examples, today and for generations to come."

- President Jon Whitmore

Dolores Huerta at Chavez arch dedication
Dolores Huerta with glass mosaic mural of César Chávez. Huerta and Chávez co-founded United Farm Workers. Photo: Robert Bain, SJSU Photographic Services.

Mariachis play at Chavez arch dedication
Mariachis play at dedication. Photo: Robert Bain, SJSU Photographic Services.