They came in droves, forming a procession four blocks long through downtown Sacramento, chanting and singing the praises of Cesar Chavez, the iconic labor organizer whose birthday they celebrated Saturday.

At least 1,000 people — perhaps as many as 3,000, organizers said — made their way from Southside Park, at Eighth and T streets, to Cesar Chavez Plaza, at 10th and J streets. The annual march mixed the pageantry of Latino culture, a spirit of diversity and calls for continued activism under the banner of Chavez’s legacy and California’s labor organizations.

The march was “a call for action, more than just a commemoration,” said Alejandro Alex Garza, an executive board member of the Sacramento chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. The council, representing a coalition of unions nationwide, spearheaded Saturday’s event.

The Sacramento procession and rally were among several events around the region honoring Chavez. In Rocklin, Sierra College hosted a job fair, workshops, dancers and rappers. An annual observance also took place at the Davis Farmers Market, followed by a march through downtown.

At the Sacramento park named after her grandfather, Christine Chavez shared stories about the man the rest of the world knew as a leader of the farmworkers movement and a founder in the 1960s of the United Farm Workers union.

“My grandfather wouldn’t have done this work if he didn’t think it would continue after he passed,” said Christine Chavez, 35, a district director for state Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles.

The labor leader died in 1993. . .

“Every day we come together, his legacy lives on,” Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said at Southside Park.


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