In his directorial debut, “Hailing César,” the grandson of César Chávez embarks on a journey to better understand his grandfather’s legacy.

Photo of Edwardo Chávez
Edwardo Chavez

The film will be presented by the Trotter Multicultural Center and followed by a moderated discussion with Edwardo Chávez.

Edwardo Chávez was 3 years old when his grandfather, the civil rights activist César Chávez, died. Growing up comfortably in the San Francisco Bay area of California, where his father was a lawyer, Eduardo said he had difficulty connecting with his grandfather’s struggle.

As a result, he avoided opportunities to speak about “la causa,” the 1960s movement to organize Mexican-America farm workers led by his grandfather, because he did not feel worthy of representing it.

“Like many other young people, I am at a crossroads in my life where I needed to decide who I’m going to be and how I want to lead my life,” Edwardo Chávez said. “Without knowing about your past, it is difficult to know your future. Young people today in search of their identity or destiny may find the answer in their roots.”

In “Hailing César,” Edwardo Chávez begins to work as a farm-worker like his father and grandfather before him. Through his reconnection with his family’s legacy, the film highlights César Chávez’s plight to create equality for farm workers, but also challenges Edwardo to analyze his own position and responsibilities in today’s society.

In his mid-20s, Edwardo faces challenges similar to many young people.

“Coming from a more privileged background than his grandfather, I think he’s trying to unravel his personal history, his own life purpose and the tension between pursuing a career centered around civil rights and social justice verses a more lucrative career in film and entertainment,” said Julio Cardona, director of the Trotter Multicultural Center.

“Many students are questioning and figuring out the generational differences regarding what it means to be active in civil rights or social justice movements in 2018 versus in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.”

The film screening and discussion will begin at 6 p.m. Jan. 15 in the Rackham Graduate School Auditorium.

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