Celebrating the Legacy of César Chávez
Today marks the 83rd anniversary of the birth of César Chávez. Chávez worked tirelessly to improve the lives and protect the safety of farm workers. His legacy continues today, and is echoed each time his famous motto for the United Farm Workers – “¡Si Se puede!” or “Yes, we can” – is chanted.
Chávez began his work as a member of the Community Service Organization (CSO), a civil rights group that advocated on behalf of Latino-Americans across California. He served as the organization’s national director for four years, before leaving in 1962 to co-found the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) with Dolores Huerta.
Beginning in 1965, the NFWA supported grape pickers in their efforts to secure high wages and better working conditions, leading to the famous five year strike and national boycott of table grapes. Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, Chávez lead numerous other strikes and boycotts against the use of pesticides and other poor work conditions; he even lead a 36 day fast in protest.
Since posthumously receiving the U.S. Medal of Freedom in 1993, eight states have officially declared today, March 31, to be César Chávez Day. By remembering his legacy, Chávez’s story will continue to inspire new community leaders for years to come.
For more information about César Chávez, please visit the Library of Congress: Amazing American’s project