Every year on March 31st, we celebrate the birthday and the legacy of civil rights and labor movement leader Cesar Chavez. On this day, many community and civil rights leaders take the opportunity to speak about the values of Cesar Chavez and the methods he used to make a positive impact on society. We at ELACC honor Cesar Chavez and his legacy by joining in the fight against injustice. We continue to be inspired by his fearlessness and determination in our quest to better the lives of families on the Eastside.
Born as Cesario Estrada Chavez on March 31, 1927, around Yuma, Arizona Cesar Chavez spent much of his young life as a migrant farmworker with his family. His life as a migrant worker allowed him to see the treatment, wages, and working conditions of migrant workers up close. He knew the hardships they faced because he faced them too and he wanted to make a change for the better. So he decided to become a labor organizer in the 1950s. He would then go on to form National Farm Workers Association in 1962.
In 1965, his National Farm Workers Association joined forces with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee and together they organized their first strike against grape growers. This strike lasted 5 years and resulted in some grape companies offering their workers a contract.
The following year, these two unions would merge together and be renamed the United Farm Workers in 1972. All throughout his life, Chavez used nonviolent means to bring attention to the problems of farmworkers, especially migrant farmworkers. For many years, he led marches, boycotts, and hunger strikes. On April 23, 1993, Cesar Chavez died in San Luis, Arizona at the age of 66 years of age.
In the city of San Fernando, there is a Memorial Park for Cesar Chavez. The park includes a César Chávez Statue, Farmworker Statue, The Eagle Fountain, and a César Chávez Mural. Cesar Chavez Memorial Park is located at Truman St., San Fernando, CA 91340.
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