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Monday, March 31, 2008

Honoring Cesar Chavez On His Holiday

While Cesar Chavez Day is a state holiday in eight states, (Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin) there is a push to make it a federal holiday.

Please sign the petition HERE to help make this American hero's birthday a national holiday.

Link to the Cesar Chavez Foundation.

Obama, Clinton hail Cesar Chavez.. Obama: holiday

by Mark Silva

Cesar Chavez Day.

That's what Sen. Barack Obama is endorsing: A national holiday in honor of the late, legendary activist for farm-worker rights (1927-1993), pictured here.


Today is Chavez's birthday -- and Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign was first to draw attention to that this morning, with a statement celebrating the 81st anniverary of Chavez's birth. But the senator from Illinois one-upped the senator from New York in joining the call for a new national holiday to commemorate the father of the United Farm Workers.

"As farmworkers and laborers across America continue to struggle for fair treatment and fair wages, we find strength in what Cesar Chavez accomplished so many years ago,'' Obama said in a statement released by his campaign today. "And we should honor him for what he's taught us about making America a stronger, more just, and more prosperous nation.

"That's why I support the call to make Cesar Chavez's birthday a national holiday. It's time to recognize the contributions of this American icon to the ongoing efforts to perfect our union. “

Clinton said, in a statement released today: “Today, I join millions of Americans in commemorating the life of one of our great civil rights leaders, Cesar Chavez. Driven by his strong desire to ensure better quality of life for migrant farm workers across the country, Chavez helped found – along with Dolores Huerta – the United Farm Workers of America, arguably one of the first effective farm workers’ union in the United States.''

Clinton said of Chavez: "Under his leadership -- highlighted by nonviolent protest -- thousands of farmers across the country were able to secure improved wages and benefits, humane living and working conditions, and better job security. Through his lifetime of service, he has paved the way for many, and provided inspiration for countless others.

"Cesar once said ‘We can choose to use our lives for others to bring about a better and more just world for our children.’ It is in that spirit that I join my friends and supporters Dolores Huerta, Cesar’s brother Richard and grandson Cesar Chavez Jr., as well as many Americans across the country in celebration of his birthday. We honor a true American hero and a role model to all of us who are committed to bringing change and fight for justice.”

Obama, sounding a theme of racial and ethnic harmony that he had struck with a recent speech in Philadelphia, said Chavez had worked at “making America a stronger, more just, and more prosperous nation.”

"His life and legacy are important for us all to remember,'' Obama said. "From his beginnings as a farmworker picking lettuce and beets in the American Southwest, Cesar Chavez rose to help found the United Farm Workers, providing hundreds of thousands of people with better working conditions and the chance to live a better life.

"He proved what I have long believed – that together, ordinary people can do extraordinary things. When some said he could not organize farmworkers and take on the growers, he said, "Sí Se Puede" - "Yes We Can." It's a philosophy of hope and aspiration that inspires us today.”

“Chavez left a legacy as an educator, environmentalist, and a civil rights leader,'' Obama said. "And his cause lives on. ' (source)

In Memory of Cesar Chavez

Born March 31, 1927 died April 22, 1993

By Loretta Martinez Williams

I was wet with the morning dew,

I was wet with poison too.

DDT had fallen from the sky,

I was so small, I didn’t ask why.

We lived on their land,

And worked with our hands.

We existed from their store,

Worked ‘til we weren’t needed anymore.

We then went on unto our next stop,

So tired at night into our shack we’d drop.

With a hoe and a shovel,

We had yet to overcome our trouble.

It wasn’t easy living a life like this,

And it’s the loss of our life that we are amiss.

You sacrificed yourself,

In order to seek help,

Trying to change the old way of life,

Helping us to overcome our strife.

Non violently struggling for our rights,

Answering the call and our guiding light.

Steadfast and bringing attention to our plight.

You would become the victor of our rights,

And yet you weren’t with us for very long,

But in your time you helped us to become strong.

¡La Huelga, si se mueve!

¡Si se puede! ¡Si se puede!

These words we remember when we think of you,

Our loyalty and trust eternally true.


Video: "A History of Hispanic Achievement in America-Cesar Chavez"

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