April 6, 2012
Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett joined Lafayette City Council members Staci Lupberger and Christine Berg at LaMont Does Park on Friday, April 6, for the pinnacle event in Lafayette's 2012 Cesar Chavez Celebration.
The local dignitaries played a crucial role Friday -- that of spectators, and listeners.
The Cesar Chavez Celebration is co-sponsored by the Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee and the city's Latino Advisory Board, and involves a number of local civic organizations, including the Junior Public Achievement group consisting of Centaurus High School students and sponsored by the University of Colorado chapter. Friday's festivities -- which included a march down Public Road and the gathering at LaMont Does -- was all about Lafayette's youth, who organized the event, delivering a message of equality and leading a discussion on immigration that the celebration's namesake could have been proud of.
"I think the fact that this is youth generated is critical. It's part of the 'We're the ones we've been waiting for,' motto of Public Achievement," said Elaina Verveer, who coordinates Public Achievement at CU. "The aim is to empower young people to take responsibility for their lives and the community around them."
Centaurus junior and Public Achievement member David Velasco said Friday's event should serve as a staging point for the continuation of the efforts of Chavez -- the Latino migrant worker, labor leader and civil right activist who passed away in 1993."It's good to celebrate things like this. Discrimination and things like that can end eventually," Velasco said. "Events like this inspire people to take action. We could plan out more things, but for the moment this is what we've got. It's a good start."
Friday's event was just one in a five-week list of programming ending May 1 designed to raise awareness about social justice issues, create a deeper understanding about how to improve the quality of life for all people, and motivate community members to take action on issues that are important to them. The Cesar Chavez Celebration was started in 2003 as a grassroots effort. Event organizers believe it to be the longest running celebration of its kind in the country.
The activities -- listed at inclusivelafayette.com -- are organized by groups including Lafayette Public Library, Reading to End Racism, Project YES, Boulder Valley Safe Schools Coalition, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Lafayette Senior Services, ESL Parent Group and Out Boulder.
"What's so cool about Lafayette is all the collaboration between organizations," Berg said. "And the youth in this community are just amazing. They're always called upon to volunteer and they always come through. They're the motion behind a lot of the activity in this community."
Centaurus Junior Public Achievement group coordinated a community soccer game and sold T-shirts to raise money to assist undocumented students at Centaurus with college expenses."They're brand new scholarships, so we're really hoping it takes off," Verveer said. "They also did some donut sales earlier in the year and now they're looking at what kind of fundraising will bring in more money."
Raul Macias, a Boulder resident and member of the Boulder Voice Latino advocacy group, said the efforts of Lafayette's youth should be commended.
"The march was great. The event was great." Macias said. "I'm glad to see all these kids out here. They're doing a lot."