On Cesar Chavez’s Birthday
Response from Chavez Family & UFW President
Following White House Meeting with President Obama
Farm Workers President Arturo S. Rodriguez and Paul F. Chavez, Cesar
Chavez’s middle son and president of the Cesar Chavez Foundation, issued
these statements following a meeting at the White House with President
Obama and members of the Chavez family plus Rodriguez and UFW co-founder
Dolores Huerta on what would have been the farm labor and civil rights
leader’s 83rd birthday.
F. Chavez, President, Cesar Chavez Foundation:
President Obama for having the Chavez family and farm worker movement
join him today. We recognize how his dedication to community and public
service parallels my father’s. Cesar Chavez’s message was not just for
farm workers or Latinos; it was universal: By helping ordinary people do
extraordinary things, he inspired farm workers and millions of others
from all walks of life who never worked on a farm to believe in
themselves, to do things they would never have thought possible.
It was epitomized by the words from my father’s 1972 fast in Arizona,
“Si Se Puede!” (“Yes We Can”), which have been adopted by activists
But my dad was also convinced we have a moral duty to
give ourselves selflessly for others in a cause that’s bigger than we
are. He said, “Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the
aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and our own.”
That’s how a man with an eighth grade education who adopted a life of
self-imposed poverty nonviolently challenged, and overcame, one of the
richest industries in California and in the process inspired millions to
social and political activism.
From Arturo S.
President, United Farm Workers of America:
President Obama for honoring Cesar Chavez on this important day for
millions of Americans. We thank the President for his concern for the
farm workers who feed our nation every day, and for his strong support
of immigration reform. No other change is more urgently needed, and
would be more lasting.
We shared with President Obama 10 letters
written to him by farm workers from across the country, telling him
about the realities and challenges of their lives.
Cesar Chavez has
been honored in hundreds of communities across the nation. His birthday
is an official holiday in 11 states. But the best way to honor Cesar is
by helping the farm workers to whom he dedicated his life, and by using
our lives to serve others less fortunate than us.
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