Mural Honors Local Heroes for Role in Community

Vina Danks Middle School to unveil tribute to students, staff, teachers and labor leader Cesar Chavez

CLAREMONT, Calif. (October 8, 2003) — Pitzer College’s commitment to building strong communities can be found in its outreach programs. From Nepal, Italy, China and Costa Rica to local programs in Pomona and Ontario, the College works as a tireless advocate of intercultural understanding and as a defender of human rights.

The fruit of one its most recent projects will be dedicated at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, at Vina Danks Middle School, 1020 N. Vine Ave., Ontario.

The project is a joint undertaking among Pitzer, Vina Danks Middle School and muralist Paul Botello. The project was funded through a Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism (GO SERV) grant. GO SERV’s goals are to invigorate California’s strong ethic of civic responsibility and rich tradition of community involvement; ensure a serious role for service and volunteerism in meeting educational, health and environmental challenges; connect Californians from diverse backgrounds to find solutions to problems; and nurture the growth and emergence of California’s next generation of community and professional leaders.

Vina Danks students were integral to the success of the project. As an introduction to the legacy of Cesar Chavez, students heard a presentation from Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the granddaughter of Cesar Chavez. The students were then asked to submit ideas to serve as elements of the mural.

Their drawings and writings make up the theme of the artwork. From the outstretched hands of the late labor leader to the garden motif, their reflections present a multicultural mosaic that pays tribute to both Chavez and role models at their school.

“The mural is a labor of love that will always be there giving its message of service, learning and social responsibility back to the community,” said Jose Calderon, a professor of sociology and Chicano studies at Pitzer College. Calderon applied for the grant on behalf of Vina Danks.

“The Vina Danks project is an intimate, personal piece because there are portraits of students, staff and teachers in the mural,” said Botello. “They’re all role models like Cesar Chavez. They all show what you can do with your life.”

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