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Eastern Michigan University's 12th annual César Chávez celebration

YPSILANTI: Eastern Michigan University is the most diverse university in Michigan, which it holds as a defining and singular strength. As part of that, EMU is proud to host various events throughout the year that celebrate all races, cultures and ethnicities.

This year, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) will tentatively present its 12th annual César Chávez celebration to recognize and honor his hard work and dedication to his people, subject to the possibility of cancelling and/or rescheduling because of recent events involving COVID – 19.    

César Chávez

A tradition that started in 2009, then-Latino Advisory Council of Staff and Faculty (LACSF) President, Dr. Sandra M. Gonzáles, helped to create a campus-wide initiative to celebrate the César Chávez Day of Service and Learning. The 2009 celebration included poetry readings by students from Detroit’s César Chávez Academy Middle School, addresses by prominent keynote speakers, live mariachi music and a procession to the César Chávez Fountain on campus.

During the 5th Annual César Chávez Day Luncheon, in 2013, Dr. Gonzáles returned to EMU to deliver the keynote address. After her talk, she became the first recipient of the Dr. Sandra M. Gonzales Trailblazer Award, recognizing Latino/a leaders who have made significant contributions to the Latinx community on the EMU campus and beyond.

In 2016, Faculty and Staff Association (LFSA) President Dr. Raúl León invited students from César Chávez Academy High School to attend the 8th Annual César Chávez Day Luncheon. LFSA collaborated with EMU Enrollment Management and the Latinx Student Association to provide high school students with a tour of campus and a panel exploring the Latinx student experience at EMU.

Since its inception, the annual event has grown to include hundreds of students representing more than 10 different high schools throughout Southeast and Mid-Michigan as a way to honor the “Service and Learning” in the César Chávez Day of Service and Learning, while helping to prepare underserved student populations for college.

The 2020 César Chávez celebration, which will be hosted on Monday, March 30, will be no different. Gabriela Santiago-Romero, policy and research director for We The People Michigan will serve as the keynote speaker. An immigrant from Mexico and Southwest Detroit native, Santiago-Romero earned her master of social work studying Social Policy and Evaluation with a focus on Community and Social Systems from the University of Michigan. She received her bachelors from the University of Detroit Mercy focused on International Business.

Gabriela is a community activist and organizer who has extensive experience working for Detroit nonprofits and local government. She recently announced her candidacy for Wayne County Commissioner in District 4 which covers Southwest Detroit, Lincoln Park and Melvindale. The event will be hosted from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the EMU Student Center ballroom, located at 900 Oakwood Street in Ypsilanti.

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves nearly 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit www.emich.edu.


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Revised: 03/24/20 16:25:48 -0800.




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