Hispanic Heritage Month: Remembering Cesar Chavez

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Mexican-American union leader Cesar Chavez overcame many hurdles in his pursuit of equality for all farmworkers.

His search for fair treatment of those who placed fresh food on our tables led him to become the best known Latino civil rights activist in our history.

Back in the 50’s, harsh conditions and little to no consideration for farm workers was the norm. Cesar Chavez experienced it first hand, and he knew he had to do something about it.

According to a report by the National Safety Council in 1963, agriculture was third highest in work-related deaths.

1952 was the time Cesar Chavez became the organizer of “Community Service Organization”, a Latino civil rights group in which he fought to improve treatment, pay and working conditions for farm workers.

Ten years later he co-founded what’s now known as the United Farm Workers Union.

His son, Paul Chavez, remembers, “In addition to inspiring people, he knew he had to go and make an impact on their daily lives.”

Chavez knew the needs of the farm workers didn’t end with their shift. Through the UFW he founded several organizations to help improve their daily lives. These included a credit union, a burial program, an affordable housing program, and an education program, among others.

Chavez continued to fight for the people until he died in 1993.

His son talks about his legacy. “We need to continue to fight for immigration reform, we need to continue to stand by the DACA students and we need to work on housing and help kids with educational problems and if we do that along with commemorating his life and work, then we honor his legacy in a way that he would be happy.”
 

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