Obama establishes Cesar Chavez monument as a tribute to the activist

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    Cesar Chavez monument

    President Barack Obama, surrounded by the family of Cesar Chavez and leaders of the United Farm Workers that Chavez co-founded, signs a proclamation in the Oval Office designating March 31, 2010, which would have been his 83rd birthday, as Cesar Chavez Day. Obama established the Cesar Chavez monument in honor of the activist. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    President Barack Obama is paying homage to the farmworker movement by establishing the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument on behalf of its civil rights leader, Cesar Chavez.

    Chavez’s grave site and California home called Nuestra Senora Reina de La Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace) has been designated as the national Cesar Chavez monument. The property served as Chavez’s national headquarters and home since the 1970s until his death in 1993.

    Rurally located in the Tehachapi Mountains of Kern County, California, the property serves as a historical reminder of the struggles Chavez endured side-by-side Dolores Huerta when they co-founded the United Farmworkers of America.

    Cesar Chavez monument

    United Farm Workers co-founder and civil rights leader, Cesar Chavez. Obama established the Cesar Chavez monument in honor of the activist. (Photo/ drjohnsjournal)

    “Cesar Chavez gave a voice to poor and disenfranchised workers everywhere,” said President Obama in a statement. “La Paz was at the center of some of the most significant civil rights moments in our nation’s history, and by designating it a national monument, Chavez’s legacy will be preserved and shared to inspire generations to come.”

    Obama is expected to be in Keene, California next week and on Oct 8., he will make the tribute official. He is also arriving a few days before Hispanic Heritage month officially culminates on Oct. 15.

    From achieving basic worker protections for hundreds of thousands of farmworkers across the country to provisions ensuring drinking water was provided to workers in the fields, Chavez played an instrumental role. He also helped limit workers’ exposure to dangerous pesticides and established basic minimum wages and health care access for farm workers.

    Cesar Chavez monument

    Established in 2004 by the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, the National Chavez Center at Nuestra Señora Reina de La Paz is the official, living memorial dedicated to the advancement of the legacy of Cesar Chavez. Obama established the Cesar Chavez monument in honor of the activist. (Photo/ Farmworker Justice via flickr)

    Chavez preached non-violence and civil disobedience. Through his tactics growers were forced to recognize the UFW as the bargaining agent for 50,000 field workers in California and Florida. Chavez’s legacy continues to this day muttered through the words of a famous slogan: Si se Puede.

    Cesar Chavez monument a tribute to the activist

    The presidential campaign has also enjoyed wide support with the help of grassroots movements such as the UFW and icons like Huerta to promote get-out-the vote initiatives in the Latino community. With days shy before the election, the move can only add to Obama’s favorability ratings.

    Under the Antiquities Act, which was passed in 1906 by Congress, the president is allowed to use executive order to restrict the use of public land to be owned by the federal government. The location will also serve as a visitor’s center  containing Cesar Chavez’s office as well as the UFW legal aid offices, the home of Cesar and Helen Chavez, the Chavez Memorial Garden containing Chavez’s grave site, and additional buildings and structures at the La Paz campus.

    The Cesar Chavez monument was years in the making, according to a White House press release.


    Cesar Chavez monument

    President Barack Obama, right, calls supporters as campaign worker Ellen Merill, left, reacts at a local campaign office, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 in Henderson, Nev. On October 8th, 2012, President Obama will travel to Keene, California to announce the establishment of the Cesar Chavez monument. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


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