ANTIOCH -- Civil rights activist and union leader Cesar Chavez will be honored this weekend with pageantry, speakers, music and dance.

The Antioch group Give Always to Others & Co. together with City Hall and Antioch Unified School District will hold its annual Cesar E. Chavez State Holiday Observance from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Antioch High School's Beede Auditorium.

The event, which traditionally takes place March 31 -- the labor leader's birthday -- is being held earlier this year to avoid conflicting with Easter, said Carmen Ochoa, GATO's president.

Her nonprofit has organized the presentation for about a decade, she said, adding that Pittsburg has a similar event.

"Cesar left his footprints in Pittsburg and Antioch and Oakley -- he was here," Ochoa said, noting that Chavez and those who fought alongside him for farmworkers' rights in the 1960s traveled to East County on one of their protest marches.

Chavez, a U.S.-born field laborer himself, led non-violent strikes against growers and co-founded a labor group that eventually became the United Farm Workers of America.

These days many groups honor his ideals by undertaking community service projects, Ochoa said.

The event's keynote speaker is Mark Silverman, a San Francisco immigration law attorney who represented Chavez.

In addition, there will be exhibits of photos that East County residents took of Chavez during his visit and others of the farmworkers who helped Chavez in the movement.


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Adding a lively note to the lineup will be a mariachi band and folklorico troupe.

For more information, call 925-439-2558 or 925-757-7401.

Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Reach her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.

If you go
What: Cesar E. Chavez State Holiday Observance
When: 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. March 24
Where: Antioch High School's Beede Auditorium, 700 W. 18th St.
Info: 925-439-2558
Cost: free