Cesar Chavez Breakfast
March 27 2015
By Bette Sharpe - Glendale Daily
Dr. Ned Norris, Jr. Tohono O’odham Nation was the keynote speaker
at the 2015 West Valley Foundation’s César Chávez Breakfast held at
the Glendale Civic Center on Friday, March 27, 2015. Members of César
Chávez family and many who knew or worked with him were in attended the
breakfast on Friday.
Dr. Norris when first asked to give the keynote address reflected on
his worthiness to speak about the incredible man, César Chávez.
Chairman Norris, "I am humbled, I am truly humbled." He went
on to say,
"It is an honor to be here today before such a distinguished
group of guest and community leaders."
César Chávez showed me a different path must be another way to make
Although each of these men were from different times with different
backgrounds, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr. and César Chávez and other civil rights luminaries each ceased
their moment and took action to make this country a fairer and more just
country to live in.
Abe Lincoln and César Chávez came "from humble roots and both
share a gift for public speaking that connected with working people and
allowed them to r into leadership roles."
César Chávez was not limited to elected constraints and like King
shared a deep commitment to the nonviolence fight against poverty and
Chairman Norris admitted in the keynote that he once "associated
myself with the American Indian Movement". After FBI showed up at
his place of work thinking he and others were organizing a revolution
against the Mexican government. Dr. Norris thought that there must be
another way to make change. César Chávez showed me a different path a
more challenging and more effective one than simple violence.
The struggle for equality continues today, in particular the
disparities in opportunity and wages for women and minorities. Abraham
Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and César Chávez
challenged this county to live up to its ideals. Their on-going battle
against the forces of greed and those who want to manipulate the system
for their own interests continues.
Even today, long after the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, the
battle for universal civil rights continues to this day. "As we saw
in the historically low voter turnout last November, massive efforts to
stymie voter turnout and alienate voters continues."
"Even here in the West Valley you have efforts by outside
interests to selfishly stop positive economic development and
opportunity here in the West Valley. But you know our history shows that
these injustices are challenges. That we, we can overcome. But only if
we work together." What we call all learn from studying these four
great men is that education and open dialog are the keys to building
bridges with the great majority of the public who do not want to hamper
others only to make themselves look better.
Bette Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet no. 2944.
Dr. Ned Norris, Jr., Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman speaking at the
2015 César Chávez Breakfast.
Bette Sharpe / Glendale Daily Planet.
Tony Moya, Community Relations Manager for Salt River
Project presented Ray B. Gonzales, President of RBG Construction the 2015
Councilmember Jamie Aldama with Brittany Madrid Student of Desert
Edge High School and Kathleen Mascarenas of SRP.
playable file of the keynote and award speeches (url
Mascarenas, Media Relations Representative, SRP
Air Force Base, Color Guard
McDermott, Relationship Manager APS
Cutright, President Northwest Black History Committee
of the Diversity Award
of Glendale City Councilman
Villa, Government Affairs Representative, APS
Aldama, Glendale City Councilman, OcotiUo District
of Keynote Speaker
Juarez, Market Development & Public Relations,
Ned Norris, Jr. Tohono O'odham Nation Chairman
Moya, Community Relations Manager, SRP
Ray B. Gonzales,
President of REG Construction
Dr. Ned Norris, Jr. Tohono
O'odham Nation Chairman
Ned Norris Jr. is an enrolled member of the Tohono
O'odham Nation from the remote village of Fresnal
Canyon in the Baboquivari District. He was elected to
a four-year term as the Chairman of the Tohono
O'odham Nation in May of 2007 and re-elected to a
second four-year term in May 2011.
In May 2003 he was elected to serve as Vice Chairman
of the Tohono O'odham Nation. Prior to this election
he worked with the Tohono O'odham Gaming Enterprise as Director of Marketing &
Public Relations (Nov 2000 - May 2003); Casino Manager (June 1994 - Nov 2000);
and Director of Community Relations (Nov 1993 - June 1994). The Enterprise
operates three casino and entertainment facilities - two in the San Xavier District and
one in the Hickiwan District of the Tohono O'odham Nation.
Chairman Norris has served the people of his Nation for more than three decades. In
addition to holding the position of Chairman and Vice Chairman, he has also served as
the Assistant Director of the tribe's Children's Home; Court Advocate; Children's
Court Judge; Court of Appeals Judge; Indian Child Welfare Specialist; Assistant
Director of Tribal Social Services and Director of Tribal Government Operations. On
February 1, 1993 Chairman Norris completed a six-year Tohono O'odham Legislative
Council appointment as (non-attorney) tribal Judge, the last three of those years as
Chief Judge for the Judicial Branch.
In October 2011, Chairman Norris was elected to serve a term as the Western Area
(Arizona, Nevada and Utah) Vice President for the National Congress of American
Indians and is currently a board member of Chicanos Por La Causa in Tucson, the
American Indian Association of Tucson Inc., the University of Arizona - Arthritis
Center Advisory Board, the Tucson Airport Authority Advisory Board and Pima
Association of Governments. He is the former Chairman of the Arizona Indian
Gaming Association, and a former Chairman of the Pima Association of Governments,
and served as Co-Chair of the National Congress of American Indians Homeland
Security/Border Issues Workgroup, additionally, a former board member of the
Tucson Urban League, the Tucson Metropolitan Education Commission, KUAT
Communications Group-Advisory Board, and the Sunnyside Unified School District
Governing Board. He was inducted to the Sunnyside Unified School District Hall of
Fame. He's also a former Commissioner for the Tohono O'odham Nation's Tribal
Employment Rights Office.
In May 2009, Chairman Norris was conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree of
Humane Letters from the University of Arizona.
Quicktime playable file of the keynote and award speeches (url www.historic-glendale.net/news_media/chavez 3-27-15.amr )
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