This year’s Cesar Chavez pilgrimage walk is on Monday, April 2 (beginning at 3 PM with a small fiesta at Garey High School – 321 Lexington Ave. – and a march to Pomona city hall – 505 S. Garey Ave. at 4:30 PM) to support the Pomona Day Labor Center (that has received some funding from the city since 1997 but now is facing possible closing if the city council does not continue its funding).
The pilgrimage walk, as well as presentations in the classroom, will celebrate the life of Cesar Chavez and his contributions to the use of “non-violence” and “using one’s life in service to others” as a means of uniting people from diverse backgrounds to find solutions to social problems. As part of this commemoration, the Pomona Day Labor Center is a vivid example of practicing these themes through developing historical partnerships with students, contributing to the city’s economy, involving volunteers in yearly community beautification programs, developing community garden projects, utilizing art forms (such as murals and pictorial displays) to portray the achievements of numerous coalition efforts, organizing a yearly presence in the Pomona Christmas parade, and advancing economic development through employer/employee partnerships (that result in employment for individuals who would otherwise find themselves unemployed). The pilgrimage walk has been a tradition in Pomona. It is an example of the many pilgrimage walks that Cesar Chavez used to bring awareness to the American public about the need for bathrooms in the fields and better wages, health benefits, and housing for farm workers and poor people. In recent years, Garey High School has partnered with the Pomona Day Labor Center and the Cesar Chavez Pilgrimage Committee to organize a pilgrimage walk that has focused on the primary issues facing our communities today. In keeping with this tradition, this year’s pilgrimage walk will begin with speakers and entertainment at Garey High School and proceed to city hall where students and community people will present how the day labor center has represented the principles and values of Cesar Chavez and how the city needs to ensure the survival of this center in the future. It will emphasize the themes of “nonviolence” to resolve conflict and “using one’s life in service to others. In walking, the students and community will express how these principles of Cesar Chavez (and others such as Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and Rosa Parks) are encompassed in what the day labor center and the yearly pilgrimage partnership have come to represent.