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March 31st: Cesar Chavez Day

Cesar Chavez Mural
Photo courtesy of Hailing Cesar Facebook account.

In 2014, President Barack Obama declared Cesar Chavez’s birthday, March 31st, a U.S. federal commemorative holiday. Today, the Mexican-American labor and civil rights activist will be commemorated for his organization and contribution to fair labor agreements for farm workers.   

His main accomplishments?

1. The creation of the National Farm Workers Association with Dolores Huerta in 1962. Renamed as United Farm Workers union in 1972.

2. Implementing non-violent protests like strikes, boycotts, marches and his famous two month spiritual fasts.

3. Record unions’ collective bargaining in writing through formal union contracts.

4. Negotiated the first health benefits for farm workers and their families. From access to clean water, bathrooms in the fields and rest periods, essential rights have made farm labor more bearable thanks to him.

His 30+ years of working for fair labor and basic human rights gained national recognition and awards such as the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged (1973); Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award (1992); and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton (post-mortem 1994).

Most people are familiar with the name. Schools, libraries and streets have been named after him, but new generations might not fully comprehend the impact he made in the agriculture industry. Last year, his grandson, Eduardo Chavez, produced the film Hailing Cesar to “share Cesar’s message with a new generation.” The movie is his first step to honoring his legacy. Read more about it – Hailing Cesar.

#CesarChavezDay #CivilRights #SomosDelCampo #SomosTrabajadores #SomosJustos

Vivian Wang

Vivian is a travel enthusiast and food connoisseur living in New York City. Her curiosity and passion for languages and culture has taken her across eight countries over the past year. When not working, you can find her meandering in art museums or sampling food at the street markets.

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