Rehabilitation

Avenal prison students honor Cesar Chavez through art, essays

Chesar Chavez essays and drawings.
Essays and artwork are being displayed in the Avenal State Prison Administration Building through April.

Incarcerated students at Avenal State Prison (ASP) took their studies to another level, learning about labor leader Cesar Chavez through writing and art.

Cesar Chavez Day, observed March 31, honors the enduring legacy of the American labor rights leader. The day was first observed under President Barack Obama in 2014.

Born to migrant laborers, Chavez’s early life experiences shaped his activism and made him the face of the 1960s labor movement on behalf of Latino and Filipino migrant workers.

ASP Adult Basic Education II students have been learning about Chavez using Achieve 3000, a computer-based curriculum focusing on reading comprehension. Students then wrote an essay summarizing his life’s achievements or created artwork paying tribute to Chavez’s legacy.

Submissions included graphite portrait drawings, colorful murals, poetry honoring agricultural workers, and beaded flags of the United Farm Workers Union.

There was also special recognition of student Ramon Zapata for his carved soap figurine of Chavez. His artwork also used toilet paper, paint, and wax. The artwork is currently on display in the Administration Building where it will remain through April.

In the words of Chavez, “You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride.”

ASP teachers like Guadalupe Acosta, Sabrina Hamilton, Christine Wright, and Michelle Vahedi, help educate our population, assisting them find positive creative outlets to express themselves.

By Lt. James Campbell, PIO

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