Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement after the White House announced the establishment of a national monument honoring civil rights hero César E. Chávez. President Barack Obama will travel next week to Keene, California where he will dedicate the monument. The memorial, located at a site known as La Paz, which served as the headquarters of the United Farm Workers (UFW), was also Chávez's home and is the labor rights leader's final resting place.
"I applaud President Obama's decision to honor a man who dedicated his life to the protection of farm workers across our country and in doing so improved labor rights for all American workers. César E. Chávez dropped out of school in the eighth grade to help his mother work the fields. It was his first hand experience that inspired him to fight for those who toiled along with him. He helped establish a basic minimum wage and healthcare access for farm workers, and fought for rights as basic as access to clean drinking water for those toiling among the crops. He achieved these fundamental rights through nonviolent tactics, which earned him the enduring respect and admiration of many throughout our nation.
"When President Obama designates the César E. Chávez National Monument next week, it will be the culmination of a thoughtful process to ensure that the contributions of this American hero are never forgotten. His work, alongside that of UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta, is a legacy in of itself. I look forward to the monument's dedication and the commitment to equal rights it will symbolize."