SAN ANTONIO – Thousands marched through the West Side Saturday morning to honor and memorialize the legacy of civil rights activist and labor leader Cesar Chavez.
The Cesar E. Chavez March for Justice began at 10 a.m. at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Theater at 1301 Guadalupe St. and ended near the Institute of Texan Cultures.
March organizers partnered with the San Antonio Food Bank to collect canned food donations.
This year, Andres P. Chavez, grandson of the late Cesar E. Chavez, served as grand marshal.
"We are not only here to celebrate my grandfather legacy and the legacy of Mr. Martinez who started the march, but also out here to celebrate the issues that are important to everybody," Andres said. "We are going to be chanting really loud. We are chanting the words 'Si se puede' because those words weren’t just the rally cry of the 1960s, but those words are alive and well today and will carry us through all of our battles against injustice to equality."
Born in 1927 in Yuma, Arizona, Chavez is best known for bringing to light the struggles and harsh life of American farm workers. He rallied nationwide support for their case through boycotts and marches.
Chavez co-founded United Farm Workers and fought for safer working conditions.
Community leaders, including San Antonio Police Chief William McManus and Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, attended the march.
The march was led by 17 students to commemorate the 17 lives lost in the Parkland shooting.
This is the first march since the death of march organizer Jaime Martinez. Martinez died in July after battling cancer for several years.
"That’s what the march is about," Gabriel Velasquez of Avenida Guadalupe Association said. "Remembering our people. Remembering our heroes. And, we have another hero to remember -- our friend, Mr. Martinez."