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April 8, 2011 > Celebration of non-violence and peace

Celebration of non-violence and peace

Story and Photos submitted by Evan Goldberg

John Muir Middle School and San Leandro High School commemorated Cesar Chavez Day on March 31, with assemblies, rallies, and celebrations of non-violence and their community service.

Anthony Chavez, the grandson of Cesar Chavez spoke at an assembly at John Muir Middle School in honor of what would have been the civil right leader's 84th birthday. "The examples of San Leandro High School and John Muir Middle School exemplify what Cesar Chavez Day could be as a day of service," said Chavez. "I'm really happy to be here today.

Both schools are wrapping up their "Season of Service, Period of Peace." The "Season of Service" is a ten-week period between Martin Luther King Day in January and Cesar Chavez Day at the end of March. Both schools have been involved in a myriad of service and non-violence activities. "The Season of Service, Period of Peace is a time when student classes and groups can take ownership over the culture and climate of their campus," said Evan Goldberg, School Community Violence Prevention Coordinator at the Alameda County Office of Education. "It has made a big difference on both campuses."

John Muir Middle School began its day with a multi-media assembly celebrating Cesar Chavez and the Season of Service. Students filed into the gymnasium, while the award winning film biography on Cesar Chavez, "Common Man, Uncommon Vision," played in the background. Anthony Chavez' speech keynoted the assembly. "You students have done so many incredible things," said Chavez. "You are carrying on the legacy of my grandfather and I know he would be very proud of you today."

It took nearly ten minutes to show slides of all student service projects. A sampling of the activities included students signing a peace pledge banner; a culture fair; a "Heroes of Peace and Service" door decorating contest; chalked peace messages in the breezeway, participation in the Alameda County Community Food Bank's food drive. The day culminated with an afterschool Cesar Chavez Peace Rally and March.

San Leandro High School was also commemorating Cesar Chavez Day and the end of their Season of Service, Period of Peace. As part of a school-wide assembly, the Season celebrated the service and nonviolence projects of a dozen campus groups and over 750 students.

At San Leandro High School, two packed double assemblies highlighted a number of campus accomplishments; one of them being the Season of Service. Twelve students posed with their Season of Service posters while a video highlighted each of the group's accomplishments. A video montage followed from the San Leandro Academy of Multi-Media (SLAM), that highlighted their nonviolence contribution-videos on bullying, homophobia, name calling and gossip.

Projects at San Leandro High School included SLAM's "Fast for Nonviolence," the Social Justice Academy's "Art is our Weapon" Festival, the Business Academy's "Nonviolence Poetry Night," and the Art Department's creation of nonviolence art. The Graphic Arts classes made posters for every group and a button that served as the Season of Service logo.

Both schools highlighted the rich diversity found in San Leandro. Black Student Unions, Latinos Unidos, Asian-Pacific Islander Groups, Gay-Straight Alliances, and Student Governments all participated in calling for campus peace and engaging in service to the community. The Season of Service is coordinated at both campuses by faculty committees and administration.

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