By JOHNNY FLORES, JR./Coachella Unincorporated
Coachella, Calif. — Residents of the Eastern Coachella Valley are encouraged to provide their input for the city’s planned Cesar E. Chavez Memorial at an upcoming workshop on Tuesday, November 20, at Cesar Chavez Elementary School.
This memorial will be located De Oro Park at the northwest corner of Avenida de Oro and Avenue 50 across from Cesar Chavez Elementary. The current plan is to rename the park in the late civil right leader’s honor as well design a monument dedicated to his life and work.
According to Jonathan Hoy, Coachella’s city engineer, the new memorial “is intended to focus on Cesar Chavez’s experiences here in Coachella.”
Tim Maroney, who is part of the design team, hopes the memorial will feature six to seven “hotspots” or key areas of Chavez’s work in Coachella. These would include Chavez’s visits to the area, local protests and boycotts. These hotspots will feature pictures and reflections from citizens who were apart of these historical moments.
A walkway will also be included as part of the design. Maroney hopes local children will take part in creating this walkway by designing bricks and other art pieces.
Ignacio Gomez, an acclaimed artist, is set to design the entire memorial once ideas are gathered and the layout is determined. Gomez, a native of the San Fernando Valley, has been designing memorials dedicated to Chavez for years. Some of his most famous pieces include the fountain at the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument in Keene, Calif., as well as the pachuco poster for the play “Zoot Suit.” This poster is now a part of the Smithsonian.
“I’m hoping that the people don’t forget (Chavez) fought for unity, and we should all be united. We should always look to each other and be hopeful like he did,” said Arturo Arredondo, 52, of Thermal.
Next week’s workshop hopes to build on some of the ideas shared during a meeting held this week. Ideas given so far include a timeline from Chavez’s birth to death and a monument dedicated to Dolores Huerta.
“Cesar Chavez has strong ties to the city of Coachella and there are a significant number of residents that have personal history with Mr. Chavez. The memorial design team is requesting public involvement to establish the memorial content, design parameters, budget, fundraise, and schedule,” said Hoy.
If you would like to know more about this upcoming meeting or how you can submit your ideas, memories, or photos, please call (760) 398-5744 or email Jonathan Hoy at [email protected].