Hundreds of Richmond residents celebrated Cesar Chavez Day Thursday by working to beautify the city.
In at least three separate locations across the city, adult and student volunteers picked up trash bags, planted redwood trees and added to an edible garden. The idea was to celebrate and emulate Chavez, the civil rights leader and activist who fought for the rights of farm workers, among others.
“He worked hard, so we are working hard,” said Cristhian Cortes, an executive assistant with Amethod Public Schools, which sent about 80 students to Richmond shoreline with trash bags.
The day kicked off at Atchison Village Park, where dozens of students and city workers joined an effort by Groundwork Richmond to plant up to 40 redwood trees. Groundwork Richmond is an organization promoting environmental and socioeconomic improvements through tree-plantings, youth apprenticeships and STEM education.
Meanwhile, over on the Richmond Greenway, students from nearby Leadership Public Schools helped transport and apply mulch and plant fruit trees at Urban Tilth’s edible garden. Urban Tilth is a nonprofit that operates a number of gardens in West County and uses them not only for food, but as tools of education for residents and youth.
Maddie Orenstein, a teacher at Leadership Public Schools, touted Thursday’s event as a true hands-on education experience for her students. The kids not only learned about the garden, but that there were thriving parks in the area where they live.
“Most of our students didn’t even know about Unity Park and the Greenway and they live near here,” Orenstein said.
In the afternoon, the nearly 80 students at Amethod Public Schools, located at 1450 Marina Way, helped clean up the shoreline, which doubles as the San Francisco Bay Trail, from the Rosie the Riveter Visitor’s Center to Salute e Vita Ristorante.
To cap off the day, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt invited the community for light refreshments at Portumex on 23rd St., where he planned to introduce himself and discuss what he’s been working on.