Marchers walk down E. Commerce St. at the Cesar Chavez March on Saturday, June 25, 2017. Ben Olivo/ Folo Media
The 21st annual Cesar Chavez march focused on accountability and not politics, according to the march organizer Gabriel Velasquez.
Local colleges, advocate groups and San Antonio residents gathered to celebrate the annual march that commemorates the civil rights leader known for improving the lives of farmworkers through non-violent tactics.
This year’s theme centers on San Antonio’s government and governmental bodies, he said. Rather than fight who sits in office today, the march hopes to bring attention to immigrants, immigrant families and the effort to end violence in communities to San Antonio’s elect.
“We understand the divisions that are going on in the United States among party lines,” he said. “But some of us believe that those divisions are going greater because we’re not focused on the value set that we hold them accountable to.”
But Becky Brenner, a long-time civil rights advocate and member of the San Antonio SNCC Legacy Project, believes that local residents should be more conscious of their voice because of politics today.
“Especially now with Trump, the people need to be aware of their importance,” she said.
A marcher holds up a sign as the rally began approaching the Alamo during the Cesar Chavez March on Saturday, June 25. Ben Olivo/Folo Media
Amidst marchers, local city mayor and council candidates walked to participate in the movement.
According to mayor candidate Manuel Medina, the immigrant, hispanic and veteran community is under attack by the recently elected president.
“We’re coming together because this is an important time in our history and because the president of the United States is implementing policies that affect people here in San Antonio,” said Medina. “Whether they’re economic policies or social policies, [Donald Trump] is going after our way of life and we’re saying “vasta”. We’re going to stand up and fight back starting today.”
The march concluded at the historic Alamo with a speech from this years grand marshall and Bexar County Commissioner, Tommy Calvert Jr. who spoke on keeping the spirit of Cesar Chavez alive today.
“We have to really commit ourselves to transform our lives,” said Velasquez. “So to say that if you’re involved with violent actions, okay that’s yesterday. Today let’s change.”