Contra Costa celebrates today’s youth along with César Chávez

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY — Later this month, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will honor one of our country’s most treasured activists: César E. Chávez.

The county’s 28th annual César E. Chávez commemorative celebration will be at 11 a.m. March 30. You can tune in live on Comcast Cable 27, ATT/U-Verse Channel 99 and WAVE Channel 32 or online at

This year’s theme is “Move Our Community Forward – Adelante Con Nuestra Comunidad.” I am excited to take this opportunity to share a few stories of local students who are working hard to move us forward. They will be recognized during the celebration for their contributions to our community.

Moving us forward

Bianey Douglas from Carondelet High School is a true community leader. She founded Latinas Unidas, an organization to help educate her classmates and faculty about the impact of immigration laws. She has persevered through many challenges to be accepted as a first-generation college student at the highly selective Wellesley College in Boston.

Chris Garcia’s role as a good Samaritan shone through his efforts to organize Antioch High’s “Warm for the Holidays” event, which provided toys, groceries, books and jackets to 650 children in the community.

Haley Brathwaite of Carondelet showcases exemplary teamwork – whether it be leading efforts around sustainability and environmental justice at her school and in the community, or her creative, collaborative spirit in building accessibility tools for blind people.

Jonathan Castaneda of Pinole Valley High has truly exemplified the spirit of volunteerism through with his tireless work to build a STAND! Youth Against Violence program at his school. Jonathan ran numerous campaigns at Pinole Valley High, organizing events and getting the word out about Teen Dating Violence Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Ryan Raimondi of Liberty High also demonstrates leadership and civic engagement. Ryan was instrumental in bringing a Model Legislature and Model Court program to Liberty High and is an appointee on the Brentwood Youth Commission. Ryan has worked closely with city leaders and students to bring civic awareness activities to Brentwood.

Stephanie Boustani is our rising star at Stanley Middle School. Stephanie has taken a leading role in Stanley’s Global Relief Outreach club, and her compassion and kindness shine through in her volunteer efforts to feed the homeless in Contra Costa County.

Each of these students has been a true role model for our community, exemplifying the values of service, integrity, kindness, activism and leadership that César Chávez embodied through his life. As we honor Chávez’s memory and his work, I am very proud to lift up these young leaders in his honor. Each is already bringing much-needed change to our community and the world at large.

Karen Mitchoff is Contra Costa County District IV supervisor. Email questions or comments to Mitchoff at