'Cesar Chavez' film opens in theaters

Valley woman remembers early days of UFW

PALM DESERT, Calif. - The movie "Cesar Chavez" opened in theaters Friday.  It depicts the life of the man who led the fight for better conditions for farm workers by establishing  the United Farm Workers of America.

Bermuda Dunes resident Amalia Deaztlan remembers the early days of the union and working alongside Chavez to improve the working environment for migrant farm workers.  In 1968 -- at the age of 17 and working in the fields in Coachella, she was elected president of the union's striking committee.

Deaztlan says she's looking forward to seeing the film, but at the same time, realizes the bio-pic probably didn't get everything right about the labor movement and all the people involved.

"We formed a lot of friendships and I am sure that if something is not the way that it happened, I will see it and I will feel it, but we lived that experience, we lived the experience of this movie and it made us a better person," said Deaztlan.

The UFW has arranged for about 60 farm workers from the east valley to screen the film Friday at 7 p.m. at the Indio Metro 8 Theater.

Also, Saturday at Cinemas Palme d'Or in Palm Desert, the producer of the film, Pablo Cruz, will hold a question-and-answer session with audience members following the 6:45 p.m. showing of the film.

California remains the only state where farm workers have the right to organize. While not yet a federal holiday, Monday, March 31 is Cesar Chavez day in California.

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