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San Antonio honors César Chávez with annual march, music documentary, and city holiday

Thousands of people will participate in the 27th annual César E. Chávez March for Justice on Saturday.

The longtime San Antonio tradition honors the legacy of the civil rights leader and his work to advocate for Latinos and working families.

This year's theme is "Finding True Life Through Service to Others."

The San Antonio police will begin street closures at 8 a.m. The festivities, which include speeches and a release of doves, begin at 9 a.m.

The pet-friendly march kicks off at 10 a.m. at Guadalupe and Brazos streets next to the Guadalupe Theater and ends two miles away at Hemisfair.

A statement from the city explained, "Water Stations will be available at the halfway point at Flores and César Chávez Blvd. (in front of the HEB). Water will be provided by VIA Cares Volunteer Team. Portable restrooms and hand washing stations will be available at the start and end of the route. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable tennis shoes and prepare for hot weather."

VIA will offer free rides to the march from 8 to 10 a.m. from Lots B and C at the Alamodome. Return service to the dome will run until 2:30 p.m.

The march will feature three grand marshals: interim District 7 Councilwoman Rosie Castro and her sons Joaquin and Julian Castro.

Joaquin Castro currently represents the San Antonio area in the U.S. House of Representatives. Julian Castro served as mayor of San Antonio and secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration.

Julie Chávez Rodriguez, the granddaughter of Chávez, will also participate as a special guest, according to a city statement. She serves in the Biden administration as senior advisor and assistant to president. She is also director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Other prominent participants include San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo, Steve Mini, IBEW 60 President, and Bridigo Almanza IV, ATU 694 Local President.

More events at Hemisfair will follow at 1 p.m. Food trucks will be on site.

On Tuesday, March 21, the Bexar County Commissioners Court celebrated the march and Chávez with a proclamation.

"Thousands come together, not just for the West Side, not just for Hispanics or Latinos, but for the entire city of San Antonio," said Ernest Martinez, chair of César E. Chávez Educational Foundation, which organizes the parade and raises scholarship money for local students. Martinez will also attend the march.

Abel Sánchez and Andrés Alegría are co-writers and co-producers of the documentary film, a decade-long project that features musicians and artists to honor the contributions of civil rights icon César Chávez. The film screens at Trinity University in San Antonio on March 21.

On Tuesday evening, Trinity University hosted the screening of A Song for Cesar, a documentary exploring the music of the Mexican American civil rights movement.

“Major musicians lent their talents to the farmworker cause," explained Trinity Professor David Speener, "doing benefit concerts all over the state of California, especially the AFL-CIO here in Texas, including people like Little Joe and La Familia here in Texas. ... All of these folks lent their considerable musical talents to raising money for the farm workers.”

Honors for Chávez won't end on Saturday, March 25. San Antonio City Hall and most municipal offices will be closed on Friday, March 31, to observe the César Chávez holiday. That includes all Metro Health clinics, city senior centers, and public library locations.

Public safety and emergency services will remain in operation. The 3-1-1 Call Center will remain operational from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It was first observed as a paid city holiday in 2022.

Chávez died in 1993 at age 66.

Norma Martinez, Marian Navarro, Jack Morgan and Brian Kirkpatrick contributed to this report.

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