AUSTIN, Texas—The unveiling of a statue of civil rights leader Cesar Chavez at The University of Texas at Austin has been scheduled for Oct. 9 as part of a celebration honoring his legacy for social justice. It will become the first statue of a Hispanic person on the 123-year-old campus.
The artist, Pablo Eduardo of Gloucester, Mass., plans to complete the sculpture of civil rights leader Cesar Chavez this spring.
Stacy Torres, chair of the university’s Cesar Chavez Statue Committee, said the artist, Pablo Eduardo of Gloucester, Mass., plans to complete the sculpture this spring. Work on the site preparation and foundation are expected to begin in early summer. The statue will be placed on the West Mall between Battle Hall and the West Mall Office Building.
“Our committee is excited to move forward with plans for this historic event,” said Torres, a senior majoring in government and one of the Student Government leaders instrumental in moving the statue project forward in recent years. “The unveiling ceremony will be a day of great joy as we honor the life and legacy of Mr. Chavez and celebrate the contributions of students as the driving force of this project since its inception.”
Dr. Juan Gonzalez, vice president for student affairs, said, “We are proud of the students of The University of Texas at Austin for conceiving and bringing this concept to fruition on the campus. We also want to recognize the significant achievement of the committee in the realization of this long-time dream of the students.”
For many years, members of the university community have discussed the need for ethnic and gender diversity represented by statues and other works of art prominently displayed on campus. The ideas for the statue of Chavez and also a statue of Barbara Jordan, the first African American woman from the South to serve in the U.S. Congress, came from students. The committee for the Jordan statue project is in the process of selecting an artist.
Chavez, who fought for the rights of farm laborers and minorities, was chosen by the We Are Texas Too student organization, which prompted the formation of the Cesar Chavez Statue Committee.
The issue was taken to a campus-wide student referendum during the spring 2003 semester and was approved by the University of Texas System Board of Regents that summer. During the 78th legislative session, the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate approved House Bill 1537 supporting a student fee to pay for the statues. Gov. Rick Perry signed the bill into law on June 20, 2003.
Collection of the student fees began in the spring 2004 semester and will conclude with the summer session of 2007. Leftover money will go toward a scholarship fund.
For more information contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847; Stacy Torres, Cesar Chavez Statue Committee, 512-743-5312.