César Chávez

“The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.” -César Chávez

Today in the state of California, we celebrate a man, a farmer, an activist, and a labor leader. Chávez was born March 31, 1927. He was a Mexican-American farm worker who along with Dolores Huerta, founded National Farm Workers Association which was later known as United Farm Workers. Chávez was a community organizer, standing for fair wages, non-exploitation of migrant workers, and protested the use of pesticides. He began a grape boycott which lasted five years and attracted national attention. His purpose was to gain fair wages for farm workers. Later, Chávez and the UFW won their case for both worker for grape and lettuce growers. The union also won passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, which gave collective bargaining rights to farm workers.

If you thought “Sí, se puede” came from Obama’s campagin , or “Yes we can,” translated into Spanish, think again. Sí, se puede (Spanish for “Yes, it is possible” or, roughly, “Yes, it can be done”) is the motto of the United Farm Workers. In 1972, during Cesar Chavez’s 24 day fast in Phoenix, Arizona, he and UFW’s co-founder, Dolores Huerta came up with the slogan.

We celebrate a holiday in his honor to protome community service in honor of his life and work. How will you celebrate? Today, we plant lettuce and radishes in honor of Chávez.

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”

-César Chávez

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