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Culture and Identity

César Chávez holiday brings wide range of ways to celebrate

Wikipedia: Author - Movimiento

César Chávez Day is a state holiday in California, held annually on the leader's birthday. It was signed into law by Governor Gray Davis in 2000. As a result, all state offices are closed, including the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Chávez, born in 1927 in Arizona, organized farm workers for decades in an effort to improve their working conditions. Many of his efforts took place in California, including the passage of California's Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, the first law in the U.S. that recognized farm workers' collective bargaining rights, according to the National Park Service.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) says she hopes people will use the César Chávez holiday as a day to give back to their communities. She says Chávez was truly a leader for justice and equality.

"Certainly this should be a day of service for all of us, recognizing how grateful we should be for living in such a great country and for the efforts of people like César Chávez," said Jackson. 

However, in recent years, thousands of college students on the Central Coast have used the holiday as an excuse to party at the beach.

San Luis Obispo Police Dept. Capt. Chris Staley says that historically many Cal Poly students continue to party in the downtown after leaving the beach. As a result, local law enforcement is scaling up patrols on Tuesday.

Staley says there's been a lot of attention focused on issues surrounding local partying since the St. Fratty's Day event earlier this month, when a roof collapsed injuring several people that were standing on the structure.

"We certainly understand that there's concern regarding the behaviors," said Staley. "We definitely want to make sure that we have adequate resources to address any of those problems, and that's why were going to have additional patrol."