Cal Humanities

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more when it is in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

California Humanities Welcomes Andres Chavez and Deborah Sanchez to the Board of Directors  

Andres Chavez (photo credit: Myung J. Chung/LA Times), Deborah Sanchez (photo courtesy of CSU Long Beach).

For Immediate Release 
Media Contact:  Kerri Young, Communications Manager, kyoung@calhum.org 

June 18, 2024—(Oakland, CA)—California Humanities is pleased to announce two new members of the California Humanities Board of Directors, Andres Chavez, Executive Director of the National Chavez Center, and Deborah Sanchez (Chumash, O’odham and Raramuri), LA County Superior Judge & American Indian Studies Program Lecturer at CSU Long Beach.

Andres Chavez, grandson of Cesar Chavez and executive director of the National Chavez Center (NCC), leads the arm of the Cesar Chavez Foundation that educates and promotes his grandfather’s legacy across the nation. He also oversees two historic properties, including La Paz in Keene, California, where Chavez lived and labored his last quarter century, a portion of which is now the César E. Chávez National Monument that the NCC manages in partnership with the National Park Service.

Chavez graduated magna cum laude from California State University, Bakersfield in 2016, with a BA degree in Public Policy and Administration, and has spent most of his life with the farm worker movement. He has also served in Central Valley political campaigns and set up programs through California State University, Sacramento helping farm workers earn their GED degrees.

“I’m honored to join the California Humanities board, Chavez said. “Humanities are the glue that holds us together. I look forward to learning more about the rich and diverse stories and experiences of Californians, as well as sharing the unique roots and legacies of my community.”

Deborah Sanchez (Chumash, O’odham and Raramuri) is a Superior Court Judge in Los Angeles and serves as an adjunct faculty member for the American Indian Studies Department at California State University, Long Beach. Sanchez studies and teaches the Šmuwič language (Chumash) and has composed several contemporary Šmuwič songs that honor Chumash traditional beliefs and way of life, including songs of wonder and mourning.

Sanchez stated, “I am very grateful to be part of the board of directors. I have met and interacted with many people in my lifetime and have heard and shared stories with them. Through these poems, stories, and visual works I have been inspired. These exchanges are what bond us in a powerful and loving way. They help us to understand the world around us and encourage us to be better human beings. It brings me great joy to help uplift these accounts through this work.”

California Humanities is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of a diverse group of humanities-focused leaders from across the state. The board as a whole provides nonprofit governance oversight to the organization, and individual board members act as ambassadors and advocates for the public humanities within their communities and networks. 



California Humanities, a statewide nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, promotes the humanities—focused on ideas, conversation and learning—as relevant, meaningful ways to understand the human condition and connect people to each other in order to help strengthen California. California Humanities has provided grants and programs across the state since 1975. To learn more, visit  calhum.org, or like and follow on Facebook, Instagram, X, and LinkedIn

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From left: Andres Chavez (photo credit: Myung J. Chung/LA Times), Deborah Sanchez.

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