HIS LEGACY LIVES ON ... Late labor activist Cesar Chavez's impact has a rich history in East Palo Alto, most notably through the middle school on Ralmar Avenue that includes his name. To honor the famed civil rights activist, two local leaders are looking for the community to join them in planning an annual "Week of Service to Humanity," which is slated for 2024. East Palo Alto City Council member Ruben Abrica and the Rev. Lawrence Goode, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church, are spearheading the converstion, which is scheduled for Monday, March 27, from noon to 2 p.m. at the church hall, 1425 Bay Road. Students and the surrounding community of Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School are expected to be involved in next year's inaugural weeklong event. "We are also connecting with Farmworker communities in the Pajaro and Salinas Valley and the Half Moon Bay area to be of help from the East Palo Alto area," Abrica said in a statement. Ahead of this year's Cesar Chavez Day, which falls on Friday, March 31, the local middle school is set to welcome Gabriel Medina, Chavez's grandnephew, on Wednesday, March 29. Medina, a middle school teacher, interacted with students last year over Zoom, Abrica said. Also on Wednesday, the middle school students will participate in community service and cultural activities, according to the council member.
IN RETROSPECT ... Malcolm Harris, author of "Palo Alto: A History of California Capitalism, and the World," joined Palo Alto Weekly staff on March 16 to talk about the legacy of Leland Stanford and Herbert Hoover, capitalism's evolution, the history of eugenics at Stanford University and his personal experiences in Palo Alto during a cluster of student suicides. In a Zoom conversation, Harris talked about how Leland Stanford developed what he called the "Palo Alto System" for breeding and training faster horses. Hoover's methods were later applied to Stanford students and, ultimately, to Silicon Valley's tech industry. Harris said he didn't originally plan on writing about Hoover as much as he did. "This wasn't supposed to be a book about famous dead presidents. ... And then I run into Herbert Hoover, and he's just such a fascinating guy and he played an important role in the 20th century, just a shockingly important role ... and so much of it related to Palo Alto," he said. Harris also expanded on his view that the city did not properly respond to the two clusters of student suicides, which occurred when he was a Palo Alto student. "As a student who experienced the town's response to those suicides, we hear the message loud and clear, those of us who were critical ... from my perspective, what I understood from the town's reaction was, there were structural issues here that my hometown is not prepared to address." Watch the full conversation at youtube.com/paweekly.
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