“When we are really honest with ourselves, we must admit that our lives are all that really belong to us. So, it’s how we use our lives that determines what kind of men we are. It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life.”-Cesar E. Chavez
Now entering into its fifteenth year, last night’s Cesar Chavez Legacy Awards, held at Los Angeles’ Westin Bonaventure Hotel, was both an inspiring and lively event. Its sponsors this year were Frenkel & Company International Insurance Brokers, Disney, and Kaiser Permanente Hospital.
Beginning with the Red Carpet affair at 6 pm, followed by the Gala Dinner at 7 pm, and finally the awards show itself at 8 pm, this formal celebration of Cesar Chavez Day has become a major fundraiser for the Foundation. For the past fifteen years, it has honored the legacy of the iconic UFW Founder Cesar Chavez through the presentation of awards which recognize acts of excellent commitment to the community and the advocacy thereof.
This year’s award recipients included Kris Kristofferson, American football legend Jim Plunkett and Los Angeles natives Los Lobos. Celebrating their 40th year in music, Los Lobos sent their apology for being a no-show, stating that they were too busy in the studio-working on their upcoming album-to personally attend the awards show. No worries. The evening was nonetheless filled with good food, great music and plenty of laughter and smiles from start to finish.
The Red Carpet affair, attended by all of the night’s award recipients (except the absentee Los Lobos) was noticeably more relaxed and less formal than in previous years. For the gentlemen, formal attire gave way to casual business suits, and fashion for the ladies ran the gamut from the simple, all-black, two piece outfit worn by UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta to the short and sexy dress worn by T. Lopez.
Throughout the evening, Kris Kristofferson’s mega-watt smile lit up the affair brighter than the lights of Hollywood. He simply could not stop grinning, as he shared a laugh with UFW President Arturo Rodriguez, while UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta sat nearby, smiling demurely.
Attended by approximately 500 people this year, the awards show immediately followed the Gala Dinner; both held in the same hall at LA’s Westin Bonaventure Hotel. Arguably the highlight of the evening was Kristofferson’s performance of his classic “Me & Bobby McGee”, given extra ‘spice’ by the musical accompaniment of Los Angeles’ famed all-girl Mariachi band, Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea.
From its informal, relaxed beginning to its exciting conclusion, The Los Angeles Beat was there to join in the celebration of folks who are busy doing precisely what the late Cesar Chavez held in highest regard as his “deepest belief”: finding their own life in the giving of life to others.
All pictures by Lenny Trujillo for the LA Beat