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Coming This Spring:
Viva La Causa: César Chávez and the Pacific Northwest”

Beginning in early April, a series of events celebrating the life and work of the late César Chávez will be held at UW for three months. Chávez, who founded the first permanent union of farm workers and became the most revered Mexican American in US history, centered his activities in California but also left an enduring mark in other parts of the country, including our state. A committee has been working for the last year to bring the exhibition In His Own Words: The Life and Work of César Chávez to UW, to display it in a way that will make it accessible to the largest audience, and to offer companion events for the project. The committee members are Jessica Albano (UW Libraries), Conor Casey (UW Libraries), Theresa Murdock (UW Libraries), Lauro Flores (American Ethnic Studies), Erasmo Gamboa (AES), John Hammerback (Communication), Andrew Hedden (Bridges Center), Emily Keller (UW Libraries), and Miriam Bartha (Simpson Center). Co-sponsors for the exhibition and other events are the UW Libraries, Department of American Ethnic Studies, Department of Communication, Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, and the Simpson Center for the Humanities.

The centerpiece of the events is In His Own Words: The Life and Work of César Chávez, a photographic exhibition that will be on display in the lobby of Allen Library North. The exhibition was created by Humanities Texas and supported by the NEH. It features thirty-eight photographs paired with excerpts in both English and Spanish from Chávez's speeches, interviews, and writings. The photos and texts document the full course of Chávez's remarkable career as a union and civil-rights leader as well as the major influences on his life and work. Two introductory panels and a video are part of the exhibition. In His Own Words was completed in late February, 2009. UW’s Dr. John Hammerback served as consulting scholar for the exhibition, selected its texts, and helped choose its photographs. Since its opening, the exhibition has been booked almost continually at universities and other sites.

Complementing the NEH exhibition will be special exhibits at Suzzallo/Allen Libraries illustrating Chávez’s influence in the state of Washington. Included are a number of photographs depicting Chicano student activism in Seattle and Yakima, posters, buttons, flags, and other artifacts from the collections of Erasmo Gamboa, Lauro Flores, and Antonio Salazar. Another exhibit features several paintings of Chávez by Seattle’s artist Alfredo Arreguín. One of Arreguín’s paintings of Chávez forms part of the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Still another exhibit features historical photographs of farm workers in Yakima from the 1960s and 1970s.

An opening Reception will be held on April 14, 4-5 pm, in the Research Commons of Allen Library South. The welcome by Professor Lauro Flores and a short introductory talk by Professor Erasmo Gamboa will be followed by a tour of the exhibition and allied exhibits. Refreshments will be served.

A symposium, Viva La Causa! Organizing Farm Workers in the Pacific Northwest During the 60s, will be held in the Walker Ames room, Kane Hall, on April 20, 2-5 p.m. A panel of prominent organizers and activists that worked in the state of Washington, who collaborated and were inspired by Chávez, will discuss Chávez’s enduring influence in our state. UW Professor Erasmo Gamboa will give a short talk and moderate the panels. Refreshments will be served.

On May 5, 12:00-1:00 p.m., in the Research Commons of Allen Library South, former UFW organizer and longtime social justice activist Rosalinda Guillén will give a talk “If you want to remember me, organize!” César Chávez, Farm Workers, and Food Sovereignty. Guillén’s presentation will focus on the centrality of César Chávez’s legacy, the efforts around the organization of farm workers, and how women and agricultural workers are at the core of the struggle for food sovereignty.

All activities and events are open to the university and extramural community.

Sponsored by UW American Ethnic Studies, Department of Communication, Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, University Libraries, Simpson Center, Labor Archives of Washington State, and Humanities Texas. For more information, call 206-543-7946 or e-mail pcls@uw.edu.


To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at least ten days in advance at: 206-543-5450/V, 206-543-6452/TTY, 206-685-7264 (FAX), or dso@uw.edu

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