César Chávez Day is a day to honor the legacy of one of the most important civil rights leaders in American history. Chávez was a labor leader and activist who fought for the rights of farm workers in California and across the United States. He founded the United Farm Workers (UFW) union and led efforts in support of better wages, working conditions, and protections for agricultural workers.
As a daughter of parents who were farmworkers, Chávez’s work and affirmation that the true purpose of education is service to others deeply resonates with me. Despite his limited education, he inspired a movement that fostered activism for those whose labor provides sustenance for our communities. I take pride in knowing that at Pacifica Graduate Institute, we are committed to social justice and community activism. We believe in the power of individuals and communities to affect positive change in the world. Chávez’s life and work serve as an inspiration to continue working toward a more just and equitable society.
Pacifica values the relationship between the psyche and society, two aspects seen in Chávez’s work. His work was rooted in the belief that individuals are deeply connected to the communities and social systems in which they live and work. He recognized the importance of collective action in creating social change and worked tirelessly to build a movement that could bring about lasting transformation.
As an Institute that equips learners to serve the world, we train mental health professionals, educators, and leaders, to approach their work with a sense of social responsibility. We encourage our learners to explore the intersections between psychology, culture, and politics and to consider how they can use their knowledge and skills to promote social and ecological change. We encourage our learners to explore how social and cultural forces shape individual and collective psyches.
We are immensely proud of the work our learners, faculty, staff, and alumni do in their communities and their research. To note just a few of many such examples from our community that align with the life and activism of César Chávez:
- The Fieldwork & Research from our Community, Liberation, Indigenous, & Eco-psychologies Specialization
- Dissertation Oral Defenses from Pacifica doctoral students related to social justice causes and fighting for the liberation of oppressed or underserved populations, including:
- An upcoming dissertation defense from Claudia Alvarez-Roddy (DPT student) on “The Gateway Toward Healing for Formerly Incarcerated Latino Men”
- A recent defense by Fujika Ariarakawa (CLIE student) on An Urgency for Okinawa/Ryūkyū Liberation Psychology: A Study of the Psychological Phenomena of Ongoing Violence in Okinawa and the Development of an Okinawa/Ryūkyū Liberation Psychology Method
- We also encourage you to explore our Diversity Library Guide to explore reference sources, books, articles, and journals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion
I join with the Pacifica community in celebrating the legacy of César Chávez and the reminder of the importance of community activism and the need for individuals to come together to effect positive change. We are proud to honor the legacy of César Chávez and to continue tending the soul of the world by working towards building a more just and sustainable society. We are committed to continuing his legacy of community-based activism and preparing our learners to be agents of change in the world.
President & CEO