GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — People gathered in Grand Rapids for the first social justice march on downtown's Cesar E. Chavez Avenue Thursday to honor the life of the civil rights leader and his push for nonviolent social change.
Walkers gathered at the Hispanic Center of West Michigan at 11 a.m. Afterward, a community gathering was held at the Potter's House Chapel, where the crowd heard from local leaders.
"I've been celebrating this since I was a kid," said participant Daniel Rivera. "So it's a yearly event for me, and it's important just to raise awareness of the community that exists here and the importance of the legacy that Cesar Chavez left, not only nationwide, but here in our backyard in Grand Rapids."
Chavez was a champion of civil rights and advocated for farm workers, the environment and animal rights. In the 1960s, Chavez organized the United Farm Workers (UFW) of America, which he led for more than 30 years. The UFW offered programs for migrant workers and their families.
Grand Rapids named a street after Chavez in 2021, a process that was over 20 years in the making.
A reserved luncheon was held for participants at Maya Mexican Grill in Wyoming after the march.
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