Honoring Cesar Chavez through Service and Community

A number of our districts take the 31st of  March off in honor of Cesar Chavez.  We work as usual... but I hope we can take a minute this week to pay tribute to this important leader.
 Chavez gained a reputation  for his leadership in the struggle for fair wages and working conditions for Latino migrant workers. Many of us remember the great struggles and his pioneer efforts through boycotts of grapes to successfully form the first trade union to represent, primarily, Latino field workers. His name and works are linked to service learning, civic engagement and a commitment to equitable education for Latino students.
 
The ACOE Butterfly Sculpture: 
An Enduring Symbol of Strength and Solidarity
In 2005, we worked to build a meaningful public art sculpture outside the ACOE building.  The project partnered  students attending our alternative education programs with members of The Crucible, a collective of metal-working artists. Together, they conceived and constructed a multi-media butterfly to symbolize the emerging leadership of all students. The butterfly sculpture is set in a bed of grape leaves as a tribute to the struggles of the farmworkers.
The piece stands as an enduring testament to service and community and we thank and honor our board, the artists  and staff led by Louise Music who volunteered after hours to work and support our students in the initial creation.  
A special thanks to  Evan Goldberg, our coordinator who has worked closely over the years on service learning projects with the Chavez Foundation to write a tribute celebrating the day. Please take a minute to read it.  Please also take some time to review some of the excellent resources available about Cesar Chavez and Service learning on our website.

-Sheila Jordan, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools

We were honored to be joined at the dedication of the butterfly sculpture by Dolores Huerta, compadre and second in line to Cesar along with local labor leaders. Next time you visit ACOE, enjoy the butterfly sculpture close up, and appreciate the work our gardener Forrest Bloxham puts into creating California native foliage.