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March, 2003

Celebrate Cesar Chavez Day!
March 31, 2003

Happy March!
March: Women in History Month March 3: Alexander Graham Bell's Birthday (1847) March 14: Albert Einstein's Birthday (1879) March 17: : St. Patrick's Day March 21: First Day of Spring March 31: Cesar Chavez' Birthday (1927) March 31: Cesar Chavez Day (California)


"Sí se puede." It means " Yes, it can be done." This was Cesar Chavez' motto.


Cesar Chavez in New York City in 1986, squeezes a bunch of grapes to help support the boycott against grapes

Cesar Estrada Chavez was one of the greatest labor leaders in the United States. He fought for a better life for migrant farm workers, founded the first successful farm workers' union, and was the president of the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO. Cesar accomplished this with a philosophy of non-violence.

In 1994, the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation was created to maximize human potential to improve the world by preserving, promoting, and applying the legacy and universal values of civil rights and farm leader Cesar E. Chavez.

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MY CESAR CHAVEZ BEAR by a third grader from San Jose, California. My Cesar Chavez bear would be red with a black eagle to represent the flag he carried. It would also say "Huelga" on the back.

Did you know Cesar Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) in 1962? The NFWA's flag was a red background with a black eagle in a white circle in the center. Their movement for social change was called "La Causa." It means "The Cause."

Did you know "Viva La Causa" means "Long Live Our Cause," and "Huelga" means "Strike?"

Cesar Chavez (Hispanics of Achievement)
In depth book focusing on the life and achievements of one of the greatest labor leaders in American history. Real photographs are sprinkled throughout this text-filled, eight-chapter book. There is also a chronology of his life in the back. The Hispanics of Achievement Series is a tribute to the richness and vitality of Spanish and Latin American culture.

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Question:
True or False:
Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers.

Cesar Chavez

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Archives - Trivia Question

 


Did you know Robert F. Kennedy said Cesar Chavez was "one of the heroic figures of our time?"

Yes. Robert F. Kennedy supported Cesar Chavez and the migrant farm workers. When Cesar's 25-day fast ended on March 10, 1968, Cesar and Robert Kennedy attended mass in Delano park.


Senator Robert F. Kennedy (left) and Cesar Chavez (right). Kennedy shares bread with Chavez at mass following the end of Chavez' 25-day fast.

In July and August, 1988, Cesar again fasted. It was to protest the pesticide poisoning of grape workers and their children. It was called "Fast for Life," and it lasted 36 days.

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Archives - Did You Know…

 


Cesar Chavez is my hero for many reasons. He was a great labor leader. He was hard working, persistent, and patient. He improved the lives of many farm workers. And he did all this through non-violent means. I am proud to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day on March 31.


Cesar Chavez holding a sign boycotting lettuce in San Francisco in 1979.

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Question:
Who was Cesar Chavez?

Cesar Chavez

Answer:
Cesar Estrada Chavez was one of the greatest labor leaders in the United States. He fought for a better life for migrant farm workers. In 1962, he founded the first successful farm workers' union. It was called the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA). He led strikes and boycotts, and he fasted to gain support for his causes.

Here is a Cesar Chavez Timeline:

March 31, 1927: Cesar was born on a small farm near Yuma, Arizona. He was a second generation American.

1938: Cesar's father lost his farm. The Chavez family moved to California, and became migrant farm workers. This meant they moved around and picked different foods depending on the season.

1942: Cesar graduated from the eighth grade and worked in the fields full-time. He realized the owners and contractors exploited migrant farm workers.

1944-1945: Cesar joined the United States Navy and fought in the Western Pacific during World War II. After the war, he returned to California, and continued working as a migrant farm worker.

1947: Cesar joined the National Agricultural Workers Union.

1948: Cesar married Helen Fabela.

1952: Cesar and his family moved to East San Jose, California, and settled in the barrio of Sal Si Puedes ("Get Out If You Can"). He began working for the Community Service Organization (CSO). He organized farm workers to vote and became the National Director. This was Cesar's first regular paying job.

1962: Cesar resigned his position with CSO to focus on helping migrant farm workers. He founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA). Cesar traveled to dozens of farm communities in California to build his base of dedicated farm workers. Cesar and the NFWA used non-violent means (strikes, boycotts, and fasting) to accomplish their goals.

September, 1965: the NFWA joined a strike started by the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC). They demanded higher wages for migrant workers from the grape growers. "Huelga" means strike in Spanish. The strike lasted five years, and the grape growers agreed to sign contracts. Farm workers were given higher pay, family health coverage, pension benefits, and other contract protections. This was the largest strike in the history of U.S. labor.

April 23, 1993: Cesar Chavez died in San Luis, Arizona. He was 66 years old.

August 8, 1994: Cesar posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It is the highest civilian honor in the United States.

September 2, 1994: the Cesar Chavez Holiday bill was passed in California. March 31 is designated as Cesar Chavez Day. It is a state holiday to promote service to the communities of California in honor of Cesar's life and work.

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Question:
True or False:
Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers.

Cesar Chavez

Answer:
True.

In 1962, Cesar Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA).

In 1966, the NFWA merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC). The new organization was called the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC).

In early 1972, the UFWOC received its charter from the AFL-CIO, and it became a full-fledged union. In 1973, the UFWOC changed its name to the United Farm Workers (UFW).

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