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Chavez celebration includes symbolic march, comic, fiesta

March 17, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Award-winning entertainer Efrain "Happy" Guerrero will be the featured speaker at this year's observance of Cesar E. Chavez Day at noon Thursday, March 30, in the South Ballroom of the Bernhard Center on Western Michigan University's main campus in Kalamazoo.

The program, which is free and open to the public, is part of a series of events planned in Kalamazoo to honor Chavez, whose birthday will be officially celebrated in Michigan on March 31.

Chavez was born March 31, 1927, and died April 23, 1993. He was a leader for more than 30 years in the nonviolent struggle to improve civil rights and working conditions for migrant farm laborers and founded what is now the United Farm Workers of America, the nation's first successful farm workers union.

The Kalamazoo observance of Cesar E. Chavez Day will begin at 10 a.m. in Bronson Park with a program sponsored by the Southwest Michigan Cesar Chavez Day Committee. Immediately following the program, those attending will make a symbolic march to WMU to hear the presentation by Guerrero, who has appeared at comedy concerts, conventions and private events throughout the United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

The day will end with the fourth annual Spring Fiesta from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Edison Environmental Science Academy, 924 Russell Street. The fiesta will celebrate Hispanic culture through food, music and dance. Twelve area restaurants will provide tastes of their Latin American cuisine and music will be provided by Los Bandits! Proceeds from the event will benefit the revitalization of the Edison neighborhood.

Guerrero is one of the top U.S. Latino comedians as well as a magician and singer impersonator. He frequently presents humorous motivational programs that address topics he calls "tools for a successful future."

The Corpus Christi, Texas, resident entertains audiences of all ages with his comedy, magic and singing impersonation of stars such as Willie Nelson, Julio Iglesias, Luis Miguel, Juan Gabriel, Roy Orbison, Louis Armstrong and Rod Stewart.

Guerrero has appeared at the Improv comedy clubs in Los Angeles and Houston and recently completed a 12-show stint at the Improv in Harrah's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where he performed to a full house every night.

He is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians; was featured in the independent film, "Harvest of Redemption," released in April 2005; and has won numerous awards in comedy and night club magic.

A three-time host of the Tejano Music Awards, Guerrero has written and co-produced four comedy CD's, "Happy Live Disconnected," "El Pachuco Dude," "Dalé Gas," and most recently, "Chisquitito."

Guerrero's WMU appearance is being sponsored by the University's Division of Multicultural Affairs and the Southwest Michigan Cesar Chavez Day Committee. For more information, contact Miguel Ramirez by calling (269) 387-3329 or sending e-mail to miguel.ramirez@wmich.edu.

The Spring Fiesta is being sponsored by Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. Children under age 5 are admitted free. Tickets, which cost $5 and cover all food, may be purchased from Downtown Kalamazoo, the Edison Neighborhood Association and the Hispanic American Council. More information about the fiesta is available by calling (269) 344-0795.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
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