Phoenix Students Celebrate Life Of Cesar Chavez

Students from the Roosevelt School District march in a parade to honor Cesar Chavez, who would have turned 91 on March 31, 2018.
March 29, 2018
Matthew Casey/KJZZ
Alejandro Chavez, grandson of Cesar Chavez, speaks to students at a south Phoenix leadership academy named for his grandfather.
Matthew Casey
Carmen Montoya (left), Sofia Miranda and Nadia Perez, students at Cesar E. Chavez Leadership Academy, spent months planning a celebration of the late farmworker rights leader and Yuma native.

Students at a South Phoenix academy named for the late Cesar Chavez threw an early birthday party for the farmworker rights leader and Yuma native, who would have turned 91 on March 31, 2018.  

Roosevelt School District officials, lawmakers and parents gathered inside the brightly decorated Cesar E. Chavez Leadership Academy, where they watched students sing, dance and star in a play about Chavez’s life. 

Chavez was like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., said Carmen Montoya, an 8th grader who helped plan the program and parade, which included much of the District.

“What I’ve learned about Cesar Chavez is that he stood up for the rights of the farmworkers and made sure there was equality in that field,” Montoya said.

The guest of honor was Chavez’s grandson, Alejandro Chavez, who lives in Phoenix. One of his favorite memories of his grandfather was after Alejandro got suspended from elementary school for fighting.

“And (my grandfather) was there when I came home,” Alejandro said. “And the way he just made me really understand that the violence didn’t solve anything. All it did was create more headaches.”