Odessa Honors Cesar Chavez in First-Ever March

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - "Si Se Puede." That message adorned marcher's signs, roughly translated as "Yes We Can."

Saturday's march was in honor of Cesar Chavez, the first of its kind to ever hit the streets of Odessa.

Sponsored by the political association, Una Voz Unida, the march drew in dozens of people and multiple organizations.

They marched and chanted and performed, all in honor of Chavez's legacy.

"So many of us he's inspired because of his activism, his willingness to sacrifice himself for others so those values are still there and alive today," Art Leal, President of Una Voz Unida, said.

Chavez is credited with forming the first successful Farm Workers Union in American history 50 years ago.

Officials attending the march said that legacy serves as an inspiration even for today's workers.

"The Chavez movement was to help migrant farm workers and they were Hispanic and I think our strong Hispanic community needs to know the history of that," Ector County Democratic Chair, Bobbie Duncan, said.

"I strongly believe in the U.S. Constitution that says that all people are created equal, yes? So let's keep it this way," UTPB Sociology Professor, Joann Hadjicostandi, said.

For the people who marched and chanted as one on Saturday, they said they were proud to celebrate this legacy for the first time in Ector County.

"I was a bit nervous but it was great," marcher, Tracy Hernandez, said. "It felt wonderful to be a part of people that I don't even know but we felt like family."

"Being surrounded by Hispanics, and he was a great Hispanic leader, you feel a great sense of pride and you're kind of being part of history here in Odessa," Cynthia Lucero, Paralegal for the Texas Civil Rights Project, said.

This was not meant to be a one-time event.

Officials said they're going to make it annual, doing whatever it takes to make sure the values that Chavez passed down through the ages are never forgotten.

"He was removed about two years ago. He was removed from our textbooks so it's up to us as a community to educate the community and so we can remember Cesar Chavez and what he did for the community," Leal said.

"Nothing's impossible if we all stand together and fight for what we believe in," Hernandez said.