Legislation Encourages Establishment of Holiday in Remebrance of Labor, Civil Rights Leader
Today, Rep. Joe Baca (D-California) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives and held a press conference to discuss his resolution (H. Res. 76) that calls upon Congress and the President to establish a national holiday in honor of Cesar Chavez, the civil rights advocate and labor organizer.
"The struggles Cesar Chavez was engaged in and the victories he achieved for civil rights, labor rights and the environment helped people throughout our nation," said Rep. Baca. "A national holiday is a fitting way to remember this man who defines hope, respect, and dignity for so many Americans."
Cesar Chavez Day is celebrated as a holiday in ten states (AZ, CA, CO, IL, MI, NM, RI, TX, UT and WI). Yesterday, on March 31, dozens of cities throughout the nation provided students, teachers, businesses and community members with the opportunity to learn about Cesar Chavez and advance his values and principles. Thousands of people across the country observed the day by participating in volunteer, educational and cultural activities within their communities.
Chavez was the founder of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), the first successful farm workers union in American history. For more than three decades, he led the UFW, achieving dignity, respect, fair wages, medical coverage, pension benefits, and humane living conditions, as well as countless other rights and protections for hundreds of thousands of farm workers, especially migrant workers who engage in demanding labor.
"The creation of a national holiday will not only honor a great man but also educate Americans about Cesar Chavez and help ensure his legacy continues to inspire others to work for the fair and just treatment of all people," said Rep. Baca.
Cesar Chavez was a humble leader who fought for social change by employing the principles of non-violence practiced by Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. including peaceful demonstrations, boycotts, strikes, and pilgrimages. His leadership on behalf of workers helped achieve the first industry-wide labor contracts in the history of American agriculture and brought about the passage of the groundbreaking 1975 California Agriculture Labor Relations Act.
H. Res. 76 is co-sponsored by 61 Members of the House of Representatives and has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.