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Sandoval, César Chávez and the Grateful Dead
by Andrew Barbano
Mar 20, 2013 | 2403 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
"When your children and grandchildren take their place in America, going to high school and college and taking good jobs at good pay - when you look at them, you will say, 'I did this. I was there, at the point of difficulty and danger'. And though you may be old and bent from many years of labor, no man will stand taller than you when you say, 'I marched with César'." -- Sen. Robert F. Kennedy


Almost half a century has passed since RFK uttered those words. The ranks of  Chàvez originals thin by the day.

The Reno-Sparks NAACP lost a great one with the death of Mary Valencia Wilson in 2011.

Two of her contemporaries will speak on March 28 at Nevada César Chàvez Day XI at Reno's Circus Circus.

Former Nevadan Maria Zamora will return from California to talk about the old days. In the Sixties, she marched through California with César.

United Auto Workers boxing impresario George "Battling" Nelson has been drafted into double duty. He was there when UAW President Walter Reuther, the greatest labor leader of the 20th Century, brought all the resources of his giant organization to bear for Chàvez.

History lessons will be accompanied by rare photos and documentary video.

Nelson will also advocate for a posthumous presidential pardon for Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion who a century ago was convicted of the crime of being black.

The man who taught César Chàvez how to organize is also up for presidential recognition. A national campaign is underway to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the late Fred Ross, Sr. Fred Jr. will speak.

César Chàvez's family has always attended. His nephew Ramon, who lives here, will bring his family.

The Legislative Hispanic Caucus will show up in force but the most prominent no-show will be Nevada's first Hispanic chief executive. Gov. Brian Sandoval has now scored a threepeat  — skipping the third César event of his tenure. Like last year, he has apparently overlooked the Nevada law mandating his issuance of a César Chàvez Day proclamation. Should he remember, we will welcome his delivering it in person.

The awesome Carla Castedo, who initiated César Chàvez celebrations at UNR, will bring Mi Familia Vota, her new organization devoted to voter participation and immigration reform.

Artist Erik Holland, whose painting of the Chàvez long march graces, will display new work about workers.

We will wallpaper the Mandalay Ballroom with SaveMart SHARES cards, a free fundraising program in which the NAACP and several unions participate. SaveMart is a union shop.

SUNDAY FOR SATURDAY: Postal workers and a few hundred of their closest friends will demonstrate at Reno Main on Vassar Street to save Saturday delivery; 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday ... Ex-Tribune columnist, non-union contractor and Sparks Republican Assemblyman Ira Hansen's bill (AB211) to cut construction wages is up at 8 a.m. this Wednesday in the Assembly Government Affairs Committee. A street demonstration follows.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 44-year Nevadan, editor of and Ticket info online. E-mail
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