reposted from : http://theorion.com
Nicholas Carr • Allison Weeks • Isabel Charles
Although Chico police report that the number of arrests was down during Cesar Chavez weekend this year, the holiday was marred by two stabbings and a fight that sent two people to the hospital.
Students also found alternative ways to celebrate the legacy of Chavez by taking to the streets in a march for the labor organizer who fought for civil rights.
In addition to 33 alcohol-related arrests, two stabbings occurred over the three-day holiday weekend.
A 23-year-old man was stabbed at a residence on Sunrise Court early Saturday morning.
Chico police officers found the man lying in a driveway with multiple stab wounds, and he was taken to Enloe Medical Center.
Police received varying suspect descriptions from witnesses and do not know why the man was stabbed.
A second man was stabbed early Monday morning.
He was walking with a group of men when he knocked over a garbage can, which upset the can’s owner, said Sgt. George Laver of the Chico Police Department.
The woman resident and the man began arguing before the man took a swing at her. She swung back in retaliation.
A group of non-residents came to the woman’s aid and caused a large fight in the middle of the street, Laver said.
One of the suspects is accused of beating up the 19-year-old who knocked over the garbage can before taking out a knife, according to the release.
The 19-year-old’s hand was cut during the fight, and he was taken to the hospital.
Police encourage anyone with information about the stabbings to contact the Chico Police Department.
Overall crime decreases
Despite the stabbings, crime decreased this weekend compared to previous years, according to a press release from the Chico Police Department.
In 2011, 50 arrests were made on Cesar Chavez Day alone, compared to this year’s 38 total arrests between Friday and Monday morning. Last year, police made 42 arrests between March 30 and April 1.
While officers working overtime were required to stay on patrol Friday and Saturday nights, overtime staff members working Sunday night were released early.
The fact that Cesar Chavez Day fell on a rainy Easter Sunday may have contributed to decreased criminal activity, according to the press release.
Cesar Chavez Day march
The student groups Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan and the National Brown Berets participated in a march Sunday and shouted down those partying in sombreros and ponchos.
About 20 Chico State students marched through the south-campus area Sunday to peacefully protest what they saw as disrespectful partying.
The route led from the courtyard of the Student Services Center down Ivy Street.
From there, they marched up West Fifth Street to City Plaza, where a short ceremony was held onstage.
Last year’s march was mainly focused on the downtown and business area, MECha director Juan Guzman said. The revised route focused on the student neighborhoods of the south-campus area.
“All of the partying and stereotyping of the culture happens over there,” he said.
Andrea Lopez, a freshman social work major who grew up in Chico, said she doesn’t understand why students celebrate Cesar Chavez Day by promoting stereotypes.
“I just want people to know about out culture, and I still see a lot of racism around campus everywhere,” she said.
The groups marched through West Fifth and Ivy streets condemning students partying in ponchos and sombreros with cries of, “Shame on you!”
While collaborative steps from MEChA, Associated Students and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion helped reduce the negative aspects of the holiday’s party culture, there’s still work to be done, Guzman said.
There’s nothing wrong with celebrating a day off, but it shouldn’t be done in an offensive way, he said.
“We could care less if people get drunk,” Guzman said. “Just do it like you would on any other day.”