Hundreds of residents and community leaders marched this past Saturday to honor the life and work of civil rights leader César Chávez.

The celebration, organized by the César Chávez Peace and Justice Committee of Denver, began with a Mass at St. Cajetan's Church in Denver. It was followed by the 11th Annual César Chávez March through the streets of southwest Denver, culminating in a community gathering at the Denver Indian Center.

The march honored "the spirit of César Chávez," according to Ramon Del Castillo, a committee founder and professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver.
"Chávez was a spiritual leader. His focus on nonviolent ways to create social change is something that we should emulate. His fasts were messages about the importance of sacrificing for a just society," he said.

In 2001, former State representatives Frana Mace and Rob Hernández sponsored a bill to create a state holiday, and former Denver City councilmember Ramona Martínez initiated a city holiday in Denver recognizing Chavez and his accomplishments in the fields.

Chávez organized migrant farmworkers in California and fought for better conditions and wages in the 1960s and '70s. Along with Dolores Huerta, he founded the United Farm Workers of America.

Chavez was born on March 31, 1927, in Arizona and died on April 23, 1993.