CLEMSON — Clemson University joins the nation in celebrating Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month during the next few weeks.

Chrstine Chavez with an image of her grandfather behind her.
Christine Chavez with an image of her grandfather Cesar Chavez shadowing over her.

Events begin Sept. 12 with a visit from civil rights activist Christine Chavez, granddaughter of Cesar Chavez, the co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers. 

Chavez will speak at 6 p.m. at the Strom Thurmond Institute auditorium on a variety of subjects, including her recent work to improve the lives of laborers in America.

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Chavez walks in the footsteps of her famous grandfather, who is known as one of the most profound Latino American civil rights activists in U.S. history. His work rallied grassroots energy at a critical time during the 1960s. Cesar Chavez demanded safer working conditions and fair wages for migrant workers. Today his granddaughter takes up the banner.

“Christine is a champion for inclusion and bringing communities together to forge peace, unity and equity for everyone,” said Julio Hernandez, senior associate director for Hispanic Outreach in Clemson’s Division of Inclusion and Equity.

Chavez continues the work of her grandfather in her own voice, serving as an outreach coordinator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Resource Conservation Service where she helps farmers from various communities, including Hmong, Latinx, African-American, veterans and LGBTQ, ensuring no one fails to benefit from the groundwork of equality laid by her grandfather.

Chavez reportedly once heard her grandfather say, “We don’t need perfect political systems, we need perfect participation.” She held onto that message and, to this day, actively campaigns and organizes communities of people to get out and vote and participate in the political process by making known the issues affecting them most.

Christine Chavez, granddaughter of Cesar Chavez speaking at A Celebration Of The Life And Legacy Of Cesar Chavez at the USDA Whitten Building, in Washington, DC USDA photo by Lance Cheung.
Christine Chavez, granddaughter of Cesar Chavez speaking at A Celebration Of The Life And Legacy Of Cesar Chavez at the USDA Whitten Building, in Washington, DC USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

“The legacy of Cesar Chavez and Christine’s perseverance in the cause of social justice highlights a message of hope and an empowered future that our young people desperately need to hear,” said Adela Mendoza, executive director of Hispanic Alliance.

Chavez is expected to explain how her grandfather’s work inspired her to work for underrepresented people in the United States.

“Chavez’s visit reinforces the fact that Clemson is intentional and committed to engaging our Hispanic community,” Hernandez said.

Jerad Green, associate director for multicultural programs in the Harvey and Lucinda Gantt Center at Clemson, said, “Between our rebranding of the month’s title to the innovative programs we’re offering, Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month has already generated a lot of buzz throughout campus.”

Green said Clemson’s interest and commitment to deepening its understanding of Hispanic/Latinx communities is the most exciting part.

“Participants will be able to learn about the importance of coalitions for movement building as our keynote Christine Chavez talks through her grandfather’s legacy and how community building was essential in the farmworkers’ movement,” Green said.

Other events during Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month include:


Salsa at Sunset
Friday, Sept. 20
6–10 p.m.
Clemson University | South Green Lawn
Salsa Lessons from 6–7 p.m.
Come dance the night away under the stars at this year’s Salsa at Sunset. A Greenville staple is making a special stop at Clemson University. This year’s event features David Rodriguez and the Latin Caravan, a local salsa band from the Upstate region. The Pura Alegria Dance Company will be providing free dance lessons from 6 – 7 p.m. with the live music portion starting at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

Panel Discussion
Wednesday, Sept. 25
6–8 p.m.
David Peebles Room | Hendrix Student Center
The topic of discussion will be Pathways to Citizenship: Los Caminos a la Ciudadanía. The event will consist of a panel of Clemson students with different personal experiences and perspectives relating to this topic. The main purpose of the event is to educate and facilitate a forum for questions that aim to clear misconceptions regarding the paths to become American citizens with an emphasis on migrants from Latin America

El Camino a Clemson*
Saturday, Sept. 28
9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Tillman Hall auditorium
* Click the name of the event to RSVP
Clemson University, in collaboration with Admissions and various Latin-based organizations, invited Hispanic/Latinx students and families from local and regional high schools to spend a day at Clemson University to discuss the importance of education. Participants will also engage with current Clemson students, faculty, and staff while learning about the transition from high school to college.

“Harvest Season” Film Showing
Friday, Oct. 4
6-8 p.m.
McKissick Theatre | Hendrix Student Center
Join us for a screening followed by a discussion of “Harvest Season” a film by award-winning filmmaker Bernado Ruiz. Harvest Season probes the lives of multigenerational Latinos, temporary laborers and permanent residents intimately connected to the production of premium wines in the Napa and Sonoma regions of northern California-in the midst of one of the most dramatic grape harvests in recent memory.

Grab n’ Go
A lunch designed to fellowship with new and old friends and to talk about the future of Clemson.
Friday, Oct 11
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
Brown Room | Cooper Library

Noche de Gala
Saturday, October 19, 2019
7–10 p.m.
Grand Ballroom | Madren Center
Tickets for this event can be purchased online or at the door.
This culminating event for Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month will include live entertainment and authentic food. Recognition awards will be presented to those individuals who have contributed to enhancing the campus climate for Hispanic and Latinx students, faculty and staff. Tickets for the event will soon be available for purchase.

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