The second annual César E. Chávez Day celebration was held in the rotunda of City Hall on March 31.

Milwaukee’s César E. Chávez Day is an example of the progress made by the Latino community, and the growing understanding of its contributions across people of all cultures. César Estrada Chávez, who passed in 1993, was a Latino American labor leader and civil rights activist. He is a historical icon for the Latino community, with many schools, streets, and parks being named after him. He has also become a symbol for labor movements and for Hispanic empowerment based on grass roots organizing.

The growing Hispanic population of Milwaukee, which was only around 40,000 in 1990, has reached more than 103,000 today, according to the 2010 US Census. The importance of the César Chávez holiday reflects Milwaukee history, with labor rights being a cornerstone of the city’s manufacturing past.

“Nothing worth having is accomplished without effort, without struggle,” said José G. Pérez at the City Hall event. “Our times are different, those who don’t understand our cause are different, and our fears are different. What endures and binds us, however, is an unshakable commitment to the cause of justice.”

These images capture highlights from the public celebration, where the Milwaukee community and civic leaders honored the life, struggles, and accomplishments of César E. Chávez.

© Photo

Lee Matz

Read the article, listen the audio, and view the photo essay that were produced as companion features for this news report.