With the pandemic continuing to impact school activities, more than 60 of our Chavistas from several elementary, middle and high schools took advantage of the summer 2021 "Level Up" program offered by the San Diego Unifed School District. The Cesar Chavez Service Clubs received a grant from the San Deigo Foundation to offer leadership training activities for the members of the Chavez Clubs and our program was a big success.
For two weeks during June and July, about 60 Chavistas rotated in small groups to explore topics in community service, issue advocacy and arts and culture. For each topic students learned about current issues and discussed how they could organize to help their communities on those issues.
After more than a year of remote learning and Covid isolation, our Chavistas were ready to work with each other discussing how they felt about issues and to learn about how they could work together on solutions.
One group of Chavistas worked together to learn about public health challenges in their community. After learning about the problems they worked together on a project to distribute Free Hygene Kits to their neighbors holding an event at the Dojo Cafe where they distributed the kits to their neighbors.
Other groups learned about the importance of recycling for the environment and about minimum wage laws and how there is a need to increase the minimum wage to give families a livable wage. After group discussions and research they created posters of the actions they thought they could take to imrove these conditions for their community.
Arts and Culture
And, all of the Chavista groups had the opportunity to explore topics in arts and culture with some very special guest speakers. Our Chavistas learned about art, music, theater and poetry. Mario E. Aguilar,PhD. spoke to then about the indiginous dances of central Mexico. Chicano artist Salvador Torres talked about his murals in Chicano Park and the students got to visit the murals in person. The groups also talked about theater and the work of Luis Valdez, author of Zoot Suit. And finally, the Chavistas explored poetry with local poet and educator Ernie McCray.
In addition to the leadership provided by Carlos and Linda LeGerrette, these summer groups were facilitated by our club managers and a group of interns who were former Chavistas. Thanks to their hard work, our Chavistas learned a lot about community service, social justice issues, got to meet the Mayor of San Diego in person and had great fun during this summer program with their fellow students.
The summer program wrapped up with a trip to the Cesar Chavez National Monument, the home of Cesar and Helen Chavez. They met Cesar’s son Anthony and learned a lot about the day to day work of Cesar and the UFW. The group also really enjoyed hearing reflections from Club Co-Founder Linda LeGerrette, who served as the “Mayor” of La Paz when she and Carlos lived and worked there.