Annual César Chávez commemoration transitions to three days of virtual events

César E. Chávez talks with a GVSU audience in the 1990s.
César E. Chávez talks with a GVSU audience in the 1990s.
Image Credit: University Archives

The Committee to Honor César E. Chávez will host a 20th Anniversary Gala with virtual opportunities spread over three days.

Events on October 20-22 will salute the legacy of the civil rights activist and labor leader will include his son and grandson, and presidents from Grand Valley, Aquinas College, Davenport University and Grand Rapids Community College.

The effort is headed by the Hon. Lupe Ramos-Montigny, a former Grand Rapids Public Schools educator who is a member of the state Board of Education.

“We are so grateful to Lupe Ramos-Montigny and the committee for their incredible dedication to ensuring the legacy of César Chávez remains present in West Michigan,” said President Philomena V. Mantella. “The legacy of César Chávez reaches many GVSU students who have earned scholarships from the committee, allowing them to pursue a college degree and be — as César said so often — of service to others.”

The three events are free and open to the public. Registration is available online.

-- Tuesday, Oct. 20, 3-4 p.m.

Four college and university presidents will discuss the history of how the Committee to Honor César E. Chávez and the education community marched for social justice together over the last 20 years.

Panelists will share how the committee’s scholarships have changed students’ lives, the efforts to educate West Michigan and the important work still needed to move forward the Chávez legacy.

Panelists include: Richard Pappas, Davenport University president; Kevin Quinn, Aquinas College president; Pink and Mantella. The panel will be moderated by Jesse Bernal, vice president for Inclusion and Equity and executive associate for presidential initiatives.

-- Wednesday, Oct. 21, 6-7 p.m.

César E. Chávez’s son, Paul Chávez, and grandson, Andrés Chávez, will speak about Chávez’s legacy and how people can activate communities to fight for social justice and human dignity.

-- Thursday, Oct. 22, 6-7 p.m.

The four higher education partners will present scholarships to students during this event.

"The work by Lupe Ramos-Montigny and the committee to uphold this incredible scholarship in recognition of César Chávez, and in support of such deserving students is to be applauded," said Richard Pappas. "A scholarship can make an incredible difference in a student's ability to achieve their dreams, and with this support, these students can continue the legacy César Chávez created and make a significant impact in our communities."