Thursday, March 31, would have been César Chávez’s 84th birthday. To celebrate his life and honor his legacy, State Representatives Luis Moscoso (D-Mountlake Terrace) and Phyllis Gutiérrez Kenney (D-Seattle) co-sponsored House Resolution 4647, which was adopted by the Washington State House of Representatives on April 1, 2011.
“I was a teen in the ‘60s when I first heard about César Chávez,” said Moscoso. “César’s belief in non-violence and his dedication to the poor and to workers had a great influence on me; his faith in humanity gave me the strength to persevere in the struggles of our times.”
In the other Washington, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation declaring March 31st as César Chávez Day, saying that “Chávez’s legacy provides lessons from which all Americans can learn.”
In 1963, Chávez co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which would later become the United Farm Workers Union. But the farm worker movement embodied the struggle toward justice on all levels for all people, not only for those working in the fields.
“César Chávez is a hero, not only for farm workers but for all workers who deserve to be recognized for their important contributions, and who merit dignity for the diverse—and often hard—work they carry out every day,” said State Rep. Phyllis Gutiérrez Kenney.
Moscoso recalled what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said about the ultimate measure of a man, that it’s not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. “That’s what César Chávez’s life was all about, one challenge and one controversy after another as he stood up for fair working conditions and fair wages,” said Moscoso. “And his fight continues to resonate in all areas where inequality exists.”
“César Chávez’s historic slogan, sí se puede or yes we can, proved that with leadership and a non-violent approach there are no limits to what can be achieved through faith, persistence and hard work,” added Gutiérrez Kenney.
A PDF of House Resolution 4647 can also be read online here.
(Image: Cesar Chavez Estrada, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image
from troyholden’s photostream)