Cesar Chavez Restoration Narrative: “Si Se Puede” is a monumental iconic mural on Cesar Chavez Elementary School in the Mission District painted in 1995. The mural suffered water damage on the upper strip where damaged plaster was removed and re-stuccoed. In 2014 Precita Eyes restored the mural with funding from the San Francisco School District and the Capitol Improvement Fund. This mural pays homage to the vision of the founder of the United Farm workers Union. As a labor leader, civil rights champion and educator in his own right, Cesar Chavez is a compelling role model for the children of all ethnic origins who are being taught to live so harmoniously in a school such as this one.
His portrait is surrounded by roses, grapes, and other crops native to this continent. A brilliant sun radiates from behind his head in front of the giant geometric wings of the farm worker eagle, spanning much of the horizontal length of the mural. The bright rays of the sun symbolizing his enduring spirit intersect with the black wings creating patterns of light across its surface and spreading out over other parts if the mural. Framing the late great leader is an arched trellis with entwined grapevines and climbing roses. Chavez is holding the hand of the child, one of many that are marching forward toward their future. In the left corner is an elder farm worker picking grapes. The grape arbors weave between the school’s windows, representing the life, work, and struggle of the people who have created the agricultural richness of California.
The red grapes symbolizing the blood of the workers and that water their tears. In the far right corner is a cornfield with a young native girl coming from behind it. She is near Dolores Huerta another strong leader of the United Farm workers Union and one of the most outstanding woman political leaders of this state and country. In her hand, she holds a pair of wire cutters, which she had used to open a cyclone fence, allowing more children access to freedom and education. Assisting Dolores Huerta a huge realistic eagle spreads its wings. One of these children is hand signing the farm worker’s eagle. Huerta is handing a scroll to a student written with the popular phrase, “Si Se Puede”. The scroll winds between the children into the center of the mural, into the hand of Cesar Chavez, where it reads with a quote from him, which says, “Help me take responsibility for my own life so I can be free at last.
Source: Susan Cervantes