March 31 - Cesar Chavez Day

 Posted on March 31, 2021

This is an update of my post published on March 31, 2010:

Today is a holiday in eight U.S. states, including mine (California)! It honors Cesar Chavez, who was born on this day in 1927 and died in 1993. State offices and some schools and colleges are closed.

You may not know who Cesar Chavez was. Well, he was a Mexican American farm worker who became a labor leader and civil rights activist. Along with Dolores Huerta, he started the United Farm Workers labor union, and their work helped make a huge improvement in the lives of many.

Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez helped make
a big difference for a lot of people.

And like Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr., Chavez emphasized peaceful demonstrations and peaceful, constructive action at a time when there was a lot of tension and even violence during some other protest movements.

Cesar Chavez was saying “Yes, we can!” long before the Barack Obama presidential campaign—but it was in Spanish: “Si, se puede.”

Chavez helped prove that grassroots efforts to register voters, to gain signatures on petitions, and to persuade voters and consumers to support the workers' cause and stand up to monied interests—he proved that all of the things that many people said were impossible, could and did happen.

As Randy Shaw wrote on BeyondChron, Chavez and those who worked with him were able to unite students, women, clergy, and workers to make needed changes and to win human rights.

Robert Kennedy supported Chavez's civil rights efforts, and in return Chavez and his organization supported Kennedy's run for presidency. It is the UFW that is credited with winning the California primary for Kennedy (who was tragically assassinated the night of the victory).

Learn more about Chavez.

There is a nice bio here with lots of photos.

And this is one of many YouTube videos about him.

Chavez is buried at the National Chavez Center.

Learn some Spanish.
Chavez started his civil rights work to gain rights to better, healthier working conditions for migrant farm wo
rkers who went from farm to farm, region to region, picking fruits and vegetables. How about, in honor of Chavez, learning some Spanish words for fruits and vegetables? You can also have a big fruit salad and a big green salad for lunch today!

You can learn the Spanish food words here and here.


I remember, as a kid, we couldn't eat grapes. For years!

Some grape growers in California at the time treated their migrant workers horribly. The working and living conditions were very unhealthy, and the pay was unbelievably low—an entire family might get paid just twenty cents for three hours of work!

Things were 
bad, so Chavez and the UFW organized strikes—which means organized refusals to work until certain conditions were changed—and also a large protest march to California's capital, Sacramento. However, those actions weren't enough. Chavez asked the wider community—the people all across America—to support their efforts to win human rights. He called for a boycott of all table grapes.

A boycott is when people refuse to buy a certain product. Chavez asked all of us to join in his protest against the grape growers, and he persuaded many in the U.S. to support him. My parents were among those persuaded. For years, until the growers finally singed union contracts, we just didn't buy or eat grapes!

Here is some of Chavez's wisdom:

March 30 - Alaska Purchased – a Bargain or Folly?

 Posted on March 30, 2021

This is an update of my post published on March 30, 2010:

On this date in 1867, the United States bought Alaska from the Russian Empire for $7.2 million. Even though that is less than two cents per acre, some people criticized the purchase as a waste of money. Many politicians in Washington thought it was foolish to spend so much money on such a far-away chunk of land.

 of State William Seward and President Andrew Johnson were especially criticized for their decision to purchase Alaska. The purchase was called “Seward's Folly,” and the cold, icy land was scorned as “Seward's Icebox” or “Johnson's Polar Bear Garden.” (And what's wrong with polar bears, anyway?)

Of course, with the discovery of oil and gold in Alaska, let alone its natural beauties and wildlife, Alaska turned out to be an amazing bargain!

Seward Day

Even though today is the actual anniversary of the purchase, Alaskans celebrate “Seward Day” on the last Monday of March—which in 2021 was yesterday, the 29th. Most things go on during this state holiday—mail is
 still delivered, schools are still in session, and so forth—but most state offices are closed.

Did you know...?

Alaska's state flag was designed by a 13-year-old boy. Benny Benson entered a flag-designing contest with other teens (grades 7 through 12) in 1926. Actually, he entered more than one design—but one of them actually won!

Benny won a gold watch with his design etched onto the back, plus $1000.
 For more info—like what sorts of things were on Benny's non-winning entries, and on most of the other designs entered to the contest—read this.

Tour Alaska Photographics' galleries.
It's like touring the landscapes of Alaska! Gorgeous! (Don't forget to check out the wildlife.)

Learn ab
out Alaska's glaciers.

Glaciers are great masses of snow and ice. They usually move very slowly (from inches to a foot a day), moving ou
twards or downwards because of their great weight. That's why glaciers are sometimes called rivers of ice.

Glaciers pick up rocks and carry them along, grinding them against the land and rocks across which the glaciers move. With this grinding action, glaciers erode rock and carve out U-shaped valleys. At they move, glaciers push huge piles of rocks into piles called moraines.

Here is a short video about Alaska's glaciers.
These videos aren't necessarily about Alaska's glaciers, but they're great! Be sure to watch the top one, “Glacier Power.”
And here is an experiment you can do with simple materials to see how glaciers move.


Do some Alaskan puzzles.
Or, if you like your puzzles to be jigsaws, try this one.

There are many interesting native cultures in Alaska.
Check out this website to find out more.

Also on this date:

National Doctors Day

and more Virtual Vacation Day

Plan ahead:

Check out my Pinterest boards for:

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