Thursday, June 20, 2024

President Obama Signs Proclamation for Cesar Chavez Day

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation in the Oval Office designating March 31st, as Cesar Chavez Day. Obama was surrounded by members of the Chavez family and leaders of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union on the day that would have been his 83rd birthday.

Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the UFW along with Chavez, and was present at the signing ceremony said, “It was a great birthday gift for social justice from President Barack Obama.”

Chavez, who grew up in a migrant farm worker family,  spent his youth moving across the American Southwest working in fields and vineyards, and experiencing firsthand the hardships he would later crusade to abolish. At the time, farm workers were deeply impoverished and frequently exploited, exposed to very hazardous working conditions, and often denied clean drinking water, toilets, and other basic necessities.

It was in the fields of California’s central valley and in the context of the burgeoning civil rights movement that Chavez began his organizing crusade to address the injustices he experienced first hand.  His and others’ efforts lead to the creation of the UFW which still addresses many of these same issues today.

Obama said in his proclamation “Few Americans have led this charge so tirelessly, and for so many as Cesar Chavez. To this day, his rallying cry — “Si se puede,” or “Yes, we can” — inspires hope and a spirit of possibility in people around the world. His movement strengthened our country, and his vision lives on in the organizers and social entrepreneurs who still empower their neighbors to improve their communities.”

USA Today