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March 31, 1927
April 23, 1993 (aged 66)
Labor leader, сivil rights activist
Cesario Estrada Chavez was born on March 31, 1927, near Yuma, Arizona. In his young age, Chavez and his family moved to California during the Great Depression and have toiled in the fields as migrant farmworkers. Chavez dedicated his life to improving treatment, pay and working conditions for farm workers.
In 1950s, Cesar was working as a community and labor organizer. In 1962, Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) in Delano, California. In 1965, the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) and the NFWA launched its first strike against grape growers in California. The strike expanded into a nationwide boycott of California grapes.
The NWFA and AWOC had merged and the resulting union was renamed the United Farm Workers (UFW) in 1972. Throughout the 1970s, Chavez continued leading the union’s efforts across the agricultural industry. Thanks to the UFW’s efforts, California passed the landmark Agricultural Labor Relations Act in 1975. In 1980s, the UFW focused efforts on a campaign to highlight the dangers of pesticides for farm workers.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton awarded him a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2014, President Barack Obama announced that March 31, would be recognized as a federal commemorative holiday.
Chavez died in his sleep on April 23, 1993, at the age of 66. It is believed that Chavez's hunger strikes contributed to his death.
"Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures."
"We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure."
"The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
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