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A San Diego Native Remembers The Legacy Of Cesar Chavez

Photo caption:

Photo by Carlos LeGerrette

Delano grape growers strike leader Bob Armington poses with Cesar Chavez, 1966.

Take a look around in San Diego and you'll see streets, parks and statues in honor of labor rights activist Cesar Chavez, who helped lead the fight for the basic rights of farmworkers in California. But some San Diegans, like Carlos LeGerrette, experienced firsthand the movement that Chavez championed.

In the 1960s, he and his wife, Linda LeGerrette, began bringing food and supplies to the farm workers who went on strike in Delano, near Bakersfield, against the grape growers. That was after the summer they formed the Mexican American Youth Association at San Diego Mesa College, where they were students.

During that time, LeGerrette took photos of Chavez and other activists behind the movement. Those images are now displayed at the Chavez car park in Barrio Logan.

"Those photos really capture the service, the sacrifice of not only the farmworkers, but even the children of the farmworkers," LeGerrette told KPBS. "Most of us were out doing stuff either in the fields or in the offices and not paying as much attention to our own kids."

More than 50 years since the historic strike, LeGerrette said the legacy left by Chavez and the farmworkers remains.

Today, LeGerrette is the executive director of the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs, which counts members as young as third-graders. Through community projects such as advocating for student issues and feeding the hungry, the organization aims to instill the values embodied by Chavez among youth.

"They're definitely carrying on the legacy of Cesar Chavez," LeGerrette said.

Carlos and Linda LeGerrette will share their stories working with Chavez and the United Farm Workers' San Diego chapter at UC San Diego at 2 p.m. Monday.


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