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Monday, March 31, 2008

Legacy of Cesar E. Chavez Continues

Today, CAUSA and its sister organization, PCUN, Oregon's farmworker union, celebrate the life and work of Cesar E. Chavez and continue the tradition of organizing for social and economic justice.

Cesar Chavez was a civil rights, Latino, farm worker, and labor leader; a religious and spiritual figure; a community servant and social entrepreneur; a crusader for nonviolent social change; and an environmentalist and consumer advocate.

In the words of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s, Cesar Chavez was, "one of the heroic figures of our time." Chavez, who led the historic non-violent movement for farm worker rights, dedicated his life to building a movement of poor working people that extended well beyond the fields and into cities and towns across the nation.

For more than three decades Cesar Chavez led United Farm Workers, the first farm worker’s union in American history. His life’s work of achieving dignity, respect, fair wages, medical coverage, pension benefits, and humane living conditions, as well as countless other rights and protections for hundreds of thousands of farm workers continues on today.

Over his life, Chavez worked against the odds, not only helping workers obtain the first farm labor contracts in U.S. history, but helped to secure passage of the 1975 California Agricultural Labor Relations Act. The act remains the only one in the United States that gives farm workers the right to unionize.

The life and work of Cesar Chavez continues to inspire millions of people, even those who never worked on a farm, to commit themselves to social, economic and civil rights activism. As a role model for all Americans, Cesar’s legacy of educating, inspiring and empowering people from all walks of life is sure to be a strong and positive influence on generations to come.

As immigrants continue to struggle for justice and equality, the principles for what Chavez stood remain relevant and inspiring today. We look to the strength, perseverance and inspiration that he brought and continue our fight. Through his legacy, we know that hard work and determination will, in the end, make us victorious.


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