Chavez Supporters Fast For Change - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/10/07

Chavez Supporters Fast For Change

The all-night fast and prayer vigil came just hours before Thursday's Lubbock City Council meeting. That's when council members are expected to take up the issue of renaming Canyon Lake Drive to Cesar E. Chavez Drive. 

So, those in support of changing the street name, held a peaceful demonstration.

Councilman Todd Klein has suggested a task force to study the issue, but that's not sitting well with supporters.

"In honoring our hero, they recognize our presence here," supporter Grace Quirino-Garza said. 

In a demonstration borrowed from the pages of Cesar E. Chavez himself, supporters of the movement to rename Canyon Lake Drive fasted and prayed Wednesday.

"It's significant to me that Canyon Lake Drive is the one that we're trying to get renamed because it runs along where those migrant camps were," Quirino-Garza said. 

Chavez worked to create better conditions for laborers, co-founding the United Farm Workers Union, but it's not the only reason organizers chose Canyon Lake Drive.

"If you've ever driven it, it's really very nice and green and peaceful, and Cesar Chavez was a very spiritual man, and it really bespeaks of him," supporter Tavita Hernandez-Dorow said. 

City council members tell us they're receiving opposition to the proposed name change.

"Most of the people that I speak to, across the board, overwhelming say we support that endeavor, but we oppose Canyon Lake Drive, and that's been consistently my position as well," City Councilman Todd Klein said.

Klein says the reasons vary.

"From the African American community, we're a large city; find one that doesn't detract from the Martin Luther King designation.  From the larger community, we have fond memories, we consider that to be a significant designation as it is," Klein said. 

Klein has authored an amendment to create a task force to study the issue. The group would look at alternative sites and do something the street change would not.

"Mine goes above and beyond that in that it focuses on migrant labor camps that were in Atzlan Park. People want to know about the history of the community. We could do that by creating a marker, just as we have for the Apache and Comanche encampments," Klein said. 

The resolution doesn't sit well with some.

"Personally I'm appalled because Todd was a member of this committee several years back. And other streets that have been named, no one said let's set up a committee to decide whether we should have this street name changed," Hernandez-Dorow said. 

Council is expected to take up both the name change, and task force Thursday morning. We'll be there to let folks know what happens.

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