Martin Luther King, Jr Day of Service
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities.
The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.
Cesar Chavez Day of Service
The Legacy of Cesar Chavez
by Andrew Skaggs, 2013 SNAP Member
Cesar Chavez was a union leader and labor organizer that fought for justice and labor rights for migrant farm workers throughout California and the United States. Chavez left a legacy that opposed economic injustice and racial, sexual, and anti-immigrant discrimination. Millions followed Chavez to win monumental gains for farm workers, political representation for racial minorities, and environmental justice. In 2001 California Governor Gray Davis created Cesar Chavez Day on March 31st as an official state holiday to honor his tireless efforts for community service. The Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership celebrates Cesar Chavez day annually on March 31st by organizing public education events and environmental restoration programs to serve their community, help the environment, and educate individuals about the life of Cesar Chavez.
Chavez was a first generation American born in a small agricultural community near Yuma, Arizona in 1927. After the Great Depression his family relocated to California in 1937 where they became migrant workers and Chavez began working in the fields at the age of 10. At the age of 19 Chavez enlisted in the military and suffered some of the worst years of his life experiencing terrible working conditions, and enduring relentless racial discrimination. When he returned home he became influenced by Father Donald McDonnell and Fred Ross who inspired his interest in non-violent strikes, labor unions, and collective bargaining for migrant farm workers.
In 1962, along with Dolores Huerta, Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association which later became known as the United Farm Workers. Cesar devoted his life to migrant workers, and underwent several extreme hunger strikes and a grueling 340 mile march from Delano to Sacramento that motivated and mobilized thousands of migrant workers to the capital. His tireless leadership and dedication to worker’s rights got farm owners to accept labor union contracts with collective bargaining rights. This increased migrant workers income and improved overall labor conditions.
Cesar Estrada Chavez passed away peacefully on the evening of April 23rd, 1993 and was honored by more than 50,000 of his followers at the site of his first hunger strike. However his legacy of service and fight for equality through non-violent means lives on today. The Sierra Nevada AmericaCorps Partnership is grateful for his relentless efforts for community service and hopes to inspire others to follow a similar path of service to their communities to end inequality, discrimination, and environmental injustice.
Happy Cesar Chavez Day!
“Chavez left a legacy as an educator, environmentalist, and a civil rights leader. And his cause lives on.”
-President Barack Obama
Each year during AmeriCorps Week, we recognize the commitment of AmeriCorps members and alums by highlighting the extraordinary impact AmeriCorps makes across our nation every day.
National Service Works for EducationAmeriCorps Week is a time to salute AmeriCorps members and alums for their service, thank AmeriCorps community partners, and communicate AmeriCorps impact on communities and on the lives of those who serve.
9/11 Day of Service
9/11 Day is the non-profit movement to observe September 11 every year as a day of charitable service and doing good deeds. We created this observance soon after 9/11 to provide a positive way to forever remember and pay tribute to the 9/11 victims, honor those that rose in service in response to the attacks, and remind people of the importance of working more closely together in peace to improve our world. Today millions participate annually by taking time out on 9/11 to help others in need, in their own way.