|BUILDING MAP STAFF DIRECTORY JOBS MURALS REPORTS BUILDING HEROES|
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The Cesar Chavez mural was dedicated on May 5, 1995, about seven months after the San Francisco State University Student Union was renamed after Chavez.
The mural is divided into four parts: Chavez, the United Farm Workers logo, the flaming torch, the dove, and “Grapes of Wrath.”
Chavez is shown in the center of the mural, and is honored because of his contributions to the farm workers movement of fair pay and working conditions. In 1962 he founded the National Farm Workers Association, which would later merge with the Filipino Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to become the United Farm Workers of America.
The UFW logo of an eagle is shown in the background of the mural to honor the organization and what the image means to so many. The eagle was taken from the Mexican flag.
The UFW was the first successful farm workers union in U.S. history with a membership of 100,000 at its peak. Chavez and his brother Robert originally designed the logo with the goal of creating an image that would be easily identifiable and reproducible by farm workers. Artist Andy Zermeno, Chavez’s friend, produced its final design.
The colors of the logo were chosen to represent hope (white), struggle of workers (black) and sacrifice (red). Among many farm workers of Mexican descent, the eagle image is very meaningful and recognizable. The logo has become a symbol of the Chicano Rights movement.
Chavez holds a torch in the mural, which represents his inspirational leadership and what he endured in fighting for workers’ rights.
In his left hand he holds a dove, which symbolizes his belief in non-violent resistance. Chavez drew inspiration from Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and exuded his peaceful stance through fasts and marches. In 1972 he carried out a 24-day, water-only fast and in 1988, a 36-day fast. In 1966 he marched from Delano to Sacramento and in 1969 through the Imperial and Coachella valleys to the border of Mexico.
Chavez believed that publicity and education were the most important tools of a movement, as opposed to violence. It was Chavez’ s peaceful actions that resulted in powerful boycotts and promoted change.
Also present in the mural are the “Grapes of Wrath,” which resemble skulls to signify the harmful effects of pesticides on farm workers. The grapes also represent the first consumer boycott of the UFW, the 1965 Delano strike. The small boycott evolved into a public five-year strike against California table grapes.
The lead artist on the Cesar Chavez mural was Carlos “Cookie” Gonzalez. The mural is located in the Malcolm X Plaza.
To make the Malcolm X Plaza complete, a corresponding mural was dedicated to Malcolm on May 15, 1996 beside the Cesar Chavez mural.
The quote, “By any means necessary” on the bottom of the mural and other images represent Malcolm’s progression as a spiritual leader. The mural also has a theme of day and night, represented by a moon and sun in each upper corner, to symbolize Islam.
The image of Malcolm in the upper left corner is based on a picture of the leader addressing a Harlem rally in support of integration in Birmingham, Alabama on May 14, 1963.The other image of him, in a dashiki, is based on a picture taken in Accra, Ghana on April 11, 1964 while he was visiting the W.E.B. DuBois Center for Pan African Studies. The picture was taken after his pilgrimage to Mecca and captures his dignity. He is shown with a book in his hand, to represent the importance of self-education, and a ring on his finger, with the Arabic spelling of Allah, indicating his ability to read Arabic.
An image of the continent of Africa engulfing the United States is shown in between the images of Malcolm, and is based on the Mercator projection, which conveyed the relative size of Africa compared to the U.S. It also reflects the international aspect of Malcolm’s teaching. He passionately argued that African Americans need to internationalize the struggle, as their struggle is the African struggle and vice versa.
A shield and spear appear in the lower left corner to symbolize the warrior, freedom fighter and militant. The words, “ Our objective is complete freedom justice and equality,” another quote of Malcolm’s, is written above a silhouette of supporters.
The intent of the mural, along with the dedication of the plaza, was to honor, promote and understand the teachings of Malcolm including: his legacy of political, spiritual, economic, and social philosophy; the fact that he was an independent thinker who contributed to the movements for civil and human rights in the 1960s; and regardless of status, everyone can speak and act for social change, justice, and freedom for all.
The painting was the second Malcolm X mural for SF State. The first, completed in May 1994, drew public outcry from Jewish students and gained nationwide media attention for being what some thought as anti-semitic. The controversial mural depicted Malcolm amongst dollar signs, Stars of David, skulls, and the words “African Blood.” In response to protests, the mural was sandblasted and permanently removed.
The current, and not at all controversial, Malcolm X mural was painted by SF State students Eric Norberg and Kamau Ayubbo. Malcolm’s widow, Dr. Betty Shabazz, was an honorary speaker at the dedication ceremony.
With assistance from over 200 students, faculty and community members, the Filipino Community Mural was dedicated on April 4, 2003 after four years of work.
The mural is divided into four sections: solidarity, community, struggle in the Philippines and struggle in the United States. It represents both ancient times and the ongoing importance placed on community and heritage. “We Stand on their Shoulders” is written in ancient Philippine script at the bottom of the mural to recognize that today’s Filipino community stands tall because of the achievements of their ancestors
In representation of solidarity, a sun rises in the background of the mural, symbolizing the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonization. The rays of the sun represent the numerous regions that resisted the Spanish domination for almost 400 years. People stand linked arm and arm, in front of the sun, to represent solidarity with all people of color. A Filipino family, the center of the culture’s existence, is also shown.
Community, an important part of the Filipino culture, is represented in the mural through important figures Purmassuri, Lorena Barros, Al Robles, Violeta A. Marasigan, and Philip Vera Cruz. These icons of the culture paved the way for future generations through their bravery, dedication and persistent hard work.
The struggle in the Philippines is a component of the mural so that the Filipino-American community will not overlook it today. A carabao, a water buffalo, represents the Filipino people who are tillers of the land. Peasants are shown to represent those who continue to struggle for the rights of their lands. An image of a woman playing Kulingtang emphasizes importance of music in the Filipino indigenous culture, and students and workers are shown fighting for a dignified way of life.
The right side of the mural shows the struggle in the United States through pictures of struggle from the Filipino-American community. The top image is of the International Hotel and those displaced through eviction. Veterans and nurses are shown to represent the struggle for equality and fair pay. The DJ, balancing out the women playing Kulintang, and the SF State students represent the life and trial of the young Filipino-American culture. Lastly, the farm workers are shown planting the seeds from which the roots of the community are grown.
James Garcia was the lead artist on the mural with assistance from André Sibayan and others. It is located at North Plaza of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
Dedicated on April 30, 2004, the Asian & Pacific Islander mural tells the story of hard-working and determined people who fought for the rights of their community; and those who continue the plight today.
Ten local, national and international heroes are featured on the mural, as well as cultural symbols and representations of important events and groups, all culminating into a dedication of the Asian and Pacific Islander heritage.
Among the people included on the mural are: Yuri Kochiyama, Angel Santos, Mohandas Gandhi, Tupua Tamasese, Queen Liliuokalani, Queen Salote, Lakshmi Bai, Larry Dulay Itliong, Ahn Chang Ho and Haunani-Kay Trask.
The Japanese American Redress and Reparations, Third World Strike at SFSU, Chinatown Red Guard Party and the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan also appear on the mural, as well as a kava bowl, a central tree with Elephants of Laos, rice stalks and a dove.
Gandhi, the peaceful spiritual and political leader, is honored for his resistance against injustice, which led to India’s independence and inspired freedom and civil rights movements across the world.
Kochiyama, who is a Bay Area native, is a strong voice for ethnic studies and workers’ rights and works towards reparations for the Japanese-Americans incarcerated during World War II. She is shown on the mural with her fist held tightly in the air.
Surrounding Kochiyama on the mural are Gandhi, Santos - who served as democratic senator in the Guam legislatures; former Samoan Head of State Tamasese - who was one of the framers of the Constitution of Samoa; and the depiction of rice stalks and a dove - which are symbolic of peace.
The last monarch of the Hawai’ian islands, Queen Liliuokalani, sits near a central tree with three Elephants of Laos, which represent the different regions and cultures of Laos, and a large kava bowl, which signifies unity and hospitality.
Also shown on the mural is Queen Salote, who was the Queen of Tonga from 1918-1965, and was the last monarch in Polynesia. Positioned near Salote is Bai, who was the queen of a principality called Jhansi in northern India in the 17th century. Only in her 20s, she was a great heroine of India’s War of Independence in 1857 against the British. Embodying nationalism and heroism, she died in the revolt.
The far right of the mural features Itliong who was the founder of the Filipino Farm Labor Union in California in 1956, cofounder of the United Farm Workers of America, and a key organizer and vice president of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee. Near him is Ho, who established the Young Korean Association, and was a leader and organizer in the early Korean American community and Korean Independence Movement. Lastly, Trask is shown with her fist clenched in the air. She is a professor of Hawai’ian Studies at the University of Hawai’i and a Native Hawaiian nationalist.
The lead artist on the mural was David Cho, with assistance from Albert Yip. The mural is located in the South Plaza of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
Dedicated on November 2, 2007, the Palestinian Cultural Mural honors Dr. Edward Said.
1. Professor Edward Said (1935 - 2003)
2. The City of Jerusalem
3. Palestinian Folkloric Dance
4. Said's Books
5. Mahmoud Darwish Poem (in traditional Arabic Calligraphy)
11. Postage Stamp
The Native American Mural was commissioned in October, 2005, by the Cesar Chavez Student Center Governing Board. It was dedicated on November 20, 2009. The mural depicts community activism, self determination, resistance and survivance of Native American peoples, and the defense of native lands.
The Native American mural aims to counter the invisibility of native peoples and to further public consciousness and respect. It is intended to empower native communities by informing people of the strong leadership, continuous presence in all walks of life, and Indigenous resistance of American Indians, thereby countering the stereotypes of American Indians that limits their impact and presence.
1. WE ARE STILL HERE
2. Animals and Condor Feathers.
3. Self-Determination and Political Struggle Throughout History.
7. Cultural Preservation and Revitalization