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Week of January 14, 2013

César Chávez’ granddaughter keeps his legacy alive

With focus on Latino civil rights, activist Christine Chávez will be the keynote speaker for the MLK Symposium kickoff event at Rackham Graduate School.

The talk “Influence of Latinos in American Culture & Politics: The Legacy of César Chávez and the Evolution of Martin Luther King’s Dream” will include a panel discussion of experts on the changing role of Latinos in the United States. Chávez worked with the United Farm Workers Union (UFW), the organization her grandfather César Chávez, one of the most important civil rights activist in the Latino History, helped to co-found 40 years ago.

The event, from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, also will include an open panel discussion with Anthony D. Perez, assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an expert on ethnicity, immigration to public policy, social stratification, and mobility; and Rogelio Saenz, dean of the College of Public Policy at the University of Texas at San Antonio, sociologist and social demographer. Saenz is the author of numerous publications related to Latinos, demography, race and ethnic relations, immigration and inequality. He is a co-editor of the 2008 book “Latinas/os in the United States: Changing the Face of America.”

For eight years, Christine Chávez served as the UFW’s political director and she helped raising public awareness to protect civil rights of farm workers and the larger immigrant community. She oversees the annual César Chávez Walk where more than 10,000 people gather to honor the legacy of the labor leader.

Recently, Chávez joined the Rev. Al Sharpton to announce the formation of the Latino and African American Leadership Alliance. Troubled by the escalating violence between Latinos and African Americans, Chávez worked with the reverend to organize a march to correspond with the Watts riots of 40 years ago.

The event is sponsored by Rackham Graduate School, Office of Academic Multicultural Affairs, OAMI, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, Alliance for Graduate Education of the Professoriate, Coalition for Tuition Equality, Students of Color of Rackham and Rackham Student Government.

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