Pelosi Statement on Cesar Chavez Birthday
'Civil rights leader is an example for all Americans'
March 31, 2004
Washington, D.C.-House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, the recipient of the 2003 Cesar Chavez Legacy Award from the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, today released the following statement in honor of the 77th anniversary of Cesar E. Chavez's birthday:
"Cesar Chavez was one of America's greatest advocates for justice and equality, and a model of service to others. We are proud to celebrate his legacy, and we pay special tribute to his significance in American history and to his commitment for a prosperous America.
"I saw firsthand Cesar Chavez's tireless commitment to improving the lives of America's farm workers. As the founder of America's first farm workers union, the United Farm Workers, he secured their right to organize and bargain collectively for fair working conditions.
"Cesar Chavez's efforts succeeded in achieving fair wages, pension benefits and medical coverage for hundreds of thousands of working families. He also demonstrated his love for his country by serving during World War II. He showed us that together we can make a safe and prosperous America with a strong and vibrant economy-an America with good jobs and good pay. Eleven years after his death, his life's work and legacy continue to inspire millions.
"I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of Congressman Joe Baca's legislation that would award Cesar Chavez a Congressional Gold Medal for his distinguished service to the nation.
"As Cesar Chavez said, 'If you are outraged at conditions, then you can't possibly be free or happy until you devote all your time to changing them.'
"In Congress, we must continue his struggle to ensure that every citizen has access to quality health care and every child receives the best possible education. Working together, we can give everyone in this nation, whether they have been here for generations or just arrived to our shores, the opportunity to realize the American dream."