Stop drinking tequila for Cesar Chavez


Twitter screenshot that depicts the student excitement surrounding Ceasar Chavez day. Photo credit: Nicole Henson

Edit: An interview and photo of Tabitha Schempp has been removed. 

An opportunity to party outweighs being a racist. Or at least that is the vibe some students and Greek affiliations are demonstrating with their Chavez-themed parties.

Cesar Chavez Day has been recognized as a student holiday since 2014 when President Barack Obama used his authority to proclaim March 31 as a day to recognize Chavez as a civil rights leader. The CSU system chose to honor this holiday by not holding classes annually when March 31 rolls around.

Chico State students have creatively managed to turn this holiday into a long weekend of parties and debauchery throughout the downtown area. A majority of these parties have “Hispanic” parties although Cesar Chavez is recognized as a civil rights and labor union activist.

Every year, student and community activists parade throughout the town during this party weekend. Most of them hold signs that read “we are a culture, not a costume” as they stand in front of porch parties held by their faux-mustache-wearing peers.

Perhaps this is an attempt by students to revive the “pioneer days,” which is the ancient Chico State “day off to party” that managed to land the school in Playboy Magazine in 1986.

There isn’t a problem with college students feeling the need to let loose. It becomes an issue when the partying is fueled by misinformed students who choose to drink tequila and wear sombreros. This is because they are either unaware or just don’t give a damn that they are contributing to cultural appropriation.

Some education of Cesar Chavez’s legacy is enough to cut back on the drinking during this weekend, but a majority of students will still choose to participate in “Chico Chavez” by attending a themed party.

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Twitter screenshot about the experiences some people have during the holiday. Photo credit: Nicole Henson

Two years ago a video went viral during Chavez weekend. Students were stopped on the street and asked about the history of the holiday. Most of the interviewees were obviously intoxicated and couldn’t think of a definite answer to the question. Despite the video that showed the ignorance of the student body, most continue the discriminatory tradition.

Although students may know that they are being insensitive by celebrating the holiday through partying, some are doing it because of the social atmosphere it presents.

Social media status’ of students the past few days show no sign of a calmer Cesar Chavez Day. Students have been tweeting about how they “can’t wait for 2k17” in regards to this upcoming weekend.

First-year student Cameron Lucero. Photo credit: Nicole Henson

“It’s my first one and I don’t know what to expect but my friends make it sound really fun and crazy so I’m excited,” said first-year student Cameron Lucero.

As Chico State continues to have this day off from class, students will use the day to challenge their record of alcohol consumption before the sun goes down. This is fine, as long as they are not drinking tequila “in honor” of Chavez.

Nicole Henson can be reached at [email protected] or @TheOrion_News on Twitter.