Austin, Texas -- State Representative Roberto R. Alonzo honors the life of Mexican American leader Cesar Chavez on the 90th anniversary of his birthday. Cesar Chavez Day, which was designated a state holiday by the Texas Government Code Sec. 662.013, is celebrated on the 31st day of March in observance of his birthday. Cesar Chavez was the founder and longtime leader of the United Farm Workers of America. He spent much of his youth as a migrant laborer and learned firsthand about the indignities of second-class citizenship and the unhealthy working and living conditions endured by those who tended the fields.
In 1962, Mr. Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association that gained national prominence just three years later when it offered support to workers who were striking against California ’s grape growers and lead the strike for an additional 5 years. By the end of the five-year-long strike, the UFW had organized all of the California table-grape industry and negotiated the first collective bargaining agreements between American farmworkers and corporations. Among other achievements, Mr. Chavez and the UFW succeeded in securing the passage of California ’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act, the first law in U.S. history granting farmworkers the right to unionize and bargain collectively.
Over the course of his life, Cesar Chavez sought to advance La Causa, the movement, through nonviolent means--through strikes, pickets, and boycotts; on several occasions he also undertook lengthy fasts to draw public attention to the farmworkers ’ struggle. Mr. Chavez continued to lead the UFW until his death on April 23, 1993. Cesar Chavez chose to devote his life to the pursuit of social and economic justice through nonviolent means, and his courage and steadfastness in this great work brought improved health, greater security, and hope for a brighter future to countless people. His motto in life, "si se puede," or "it can be done," embodies the legacy that Cesar Chavez has left for the world's benefit, and his principles of equality, justice, and dignity for all Americans remain as essential and as relevant today as they were when he began his important life's work.
Contact: Tammy Pirtle