“Our Nation’s story of progress is rich with profound struggle and great sacrifice, marked by the selfless acts and fearless leadership of remarkable Americans. A true champion for justice, Cesar Chavez advocated for and won many of the rights and benefits we now enjoy, and his spirit lives on in the hands and hearts of working women and men today. As we celebrate the anniversary of his birth, we honor Cesar Chavez’s lasting victories for American workers and his noble methods in achieving them.
Raised in the fields of Arizona and California, Cesar Chavez faced hardship and injustice from a young age. At the time, farm workers toiled in the shadows of society, vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Families like Chavez’s were impoverished; exposed to hazardous working conditions and dangerous pesticides; and often denied clean drinking water, toilets, and other basic necessities.
Cesar Chavez saw the need for change and made a courageous choice to work to improve the lives of his fellow farm workers. Through boycotts and fasts, he led others on a path of nonviolence conceived in careful study of the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi and Mahatma Gandhi, and in the powerful example of Martin Luther King, Jr. He became a community organizer and began his lifelong advocacy to protect and empower people. With quiet leadership and a powerful voice, Cesar founded the United Farm Workers (UFW) with Dolores Huerta, launching one of our Nation’s most inspiring social movements.”
Read more here.
Update: Read the 2012 Presidential Proclamation here.