Martinez continues father’s legacy at 22nd Cesar Chavez March

Erenest Martinez, among other city officials announcing the Grand Marshall for this years Cesar Chavez March. (Photo, Patricio Calvo)

On March 24, the 22nd annual Cesar E. Chavez March for Justice will take place in San Antonio. The march will begin in the heart of the Westside on the corner of Brazos St. and Guadalupe. It begins at 10 a.m., led by this years Grand Marshall, Andres Chavez, the grandson of Cesar Chavez.

Ernest Martinez, a San Antonio native, has modestly taken on the job organizing the march as the head of the Cesar Chavez Legacy and Education Foundation after the passing of his father, Jaime Martinez. It was Jaime who was behind the first march almost 22 years ago and spent the majority of his life as a social activist keeping the memory and legacy of Cesar Chavez alive.

“My dad always used to say, if you don’t know your history then you don’t know where you’re going.” Martinez said. “We have to make sure that we bring to the surface who Cesar Chavez was.”

Martinez stressed that the youth of this generation are the future marchers and future leaders, and because of this must be exposed to the past which they carry on their backs annd through their ancestors. Andres Chavez will be visiting five to six schools in the San Antonio area to educate and inform the youth of a Chicano social activist icon.

“What I want the young people to know is number one: who is Cesar Chavez? Second. What did he represent?” Martinez said. “The teachings and principles of Cesar Chavez were what? Nonviolence. He advocated for who? The farm workers. Why did he advocate for farm workers? Because of injustices in the fields. Stop labor, and pesticides that were being sprayed on the farmworkers.”

Building Bridges will be this years theme for the march and it is one that comes at a crucial moment in not only San Antonio’s history, but the history of the entire nation as well. At a moment where neighbors are divided, the march to remember the legacy left behind by Cesar Chavez, is in Martinez’s opinion, of the utmost importance to recognize the progress that has been done and the work that lies ahead.

“Ultimately, the overarching theme for Cesar Chavez is that ‘si se puede’ spirit.” Martinez proclaimed. “La Causa transformed an entire nation, and changed the emergence of leaders that came to the surface. Yes, you can principal. Yes, you can be a doctor. Yes, you can get out of the field, and start your own business. That is what I want to resonate with the youth.”