California Governor Jerry Brown has proclaimed Monday, March 31, 2014 as Cesar Chavez Day in the state. Today, Californians remember the labor leader who became the best known Latino American civil rights activist, and was strongly promoted by the American labor movement, which was eager to enroll Hispanic members.
Brown wrote, “In 1962, after working for many years as a community organizer, he founded the organization which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW). As leader of the UFW, Chavez organized agricultural laborers to protest and demand improvements in their working and living conditions. The UFW motto of “Si se puede!” or “Yes, we can!” continues to resound as a timeless rallying cry to workers for social justice.”
Brown added, “Cesar Chavez and the UFW played an instrumental role in the passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, which I signed into law in 1975. This legislation made our state the first in the nation to give farm workers the right to seek union representation and bargain collectively within an established legal framework.”
A movie about Chavez’ life — “Cesar Chavez: History is Made One Step at a Time” — is currently in theaters. The movie stars Michael Pena, America Ferrera and Rosario Dawson.