March 31, 2021

César Chávez Day March 31st
On this day, we commemorate the birth of César Chávez, a civil rights and labor movement leader. This day has been declared a state holiday in 10 states, including California, Arizona and Colorado. The state of Nevada first observed this day since 2003 and, in 2009, a state law was passed proclaiming March 31st as César Chávez Day.

In 2008, then Senator Barack Obama suggested declaring March 31st a federal holiday in honor of the civil rights activist. Many Grassroots Organizations supported this but it wasn’t until March 28, 2014, that then President Barack Obama officially proclaimed March 31st as César Chávez Day and a federal commemorative holiday.

César Chávez was born in Arizona in 1927 and was a Mexican-American migrant farmworker. After losing their property during the Great Depression, his family had to travel around the country farming and picking fruit and vegetables at wages insufficient to survive. He experienced unfair treatment, low wages and poor working conditions from a young age and that fueled his passion to fight for better working conditions and justice. In 1952, after serving in the US. Navy for two years, he became a labor organizer and a civil rights advocate, joining the Community Service Organization (CSO).  In 1962, he co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) with Dolores Huerta Chávez, where he unionized farmworkers, fought for better pay and safer working conditions. The NFWA quickly became the first successful farmers’ union in the Unites States. In 1965, NFWA joined forces with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, organizing the first strike against grape growers. The strike lasted for five years and successfully ended with the grape growers offering the workers proper contracts and fair pay. In 1972, the two organizations merged, officially becoming the United Farm Workers; Chávez served as UFW’s President until his death in 1993.


“The end of all knowledge should be service to others”César Chávez


César Chávez was famous for the nonviolent ways he protested and dedicated his life to what he called la causa (the cause), the struggle of farm workers achieving better working and living conditions through organizing and protesting. He fought for farmworkers’ rights by leading marches, boycotts and hunger strikes. He also fought against racial discrimination towards Chicanos.  César Chávez was a fierce advocate and a leading voice in the struggle for equality. When he passed away, 50,000 people attended his funeral, and he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.  Many schools, buildings, parks and streets across the nation are named after César Chávez. His famous phrase, “Sí se puede” (Yes, we can), has been widely adopted by many experiencing injustice, protesting for their rights and honoring César Chávez’s legacy.
#DEIatCTI #cesarchavezday #cesarchavez #nfwa #workersrights #laborrights

Please watch:
Cesar Chavez: From the Fields to Victory – video length 23.12 minutes
 
Cesar Chavez speaking at UCLA 10/11/1972 -video length 39.12 minutes

Finding Cesar Chavez - A Transformative Moment | Jose Calderon TEDxClaremontColleges                               -video length 14.18 minutes