MENDOCINO Co., 3/31/22 — March 31 is César Chávez Day, recognizing the birthday of the farm workers’ rights activist and cofounder, with Dolores Huerta, of the United Farm Workers union. The day has been celebrated in California since 1995, and was also declared a federal holiday in 2014.
California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation for the holiday, which notes that “Chavez challenged Americans to recognize that the produce on their dinner tables was picked by human hands – often the hands of people who were denied the most basic human rights,” leading to regulation making California the first state to give farmworkers the right to engage in collective bargaining. “Let us carry on his timeless legacy by lifting up our neighbors, speaking out against injustice, and working together to extend the dream of prosperity, equity and progress to all,” the proclamation concludes.
Here’s the full statement from Newsom:
Throughout his life of work and service, Cesar Chavez empowered thousands to stand together for their rights and led our nation toward a more equitable and just society. His visionary leadership inspired a powerful movement that burns brightly to this day, rallying people from all walks of life to champion the dignity of work.
Born near Yuma, Arizona in 1927, Chavez and his family moved to California after losing their home during the Great Depression. Toiling in the fields from a young age, Chavez faced dismal working conditions, racism, abuse and exploitation. Moved to confront these injustices, he began working as an organizer in the farmworker community, advocating for improvements in their working and living conditions.
Founding the United Farm Workers (UFW) together with Dolores Huerta, Chavez challenged Americans to recognize that the produce on their dinner tables was picked by human hands – often the hands of people who were denied the most basic human rights. Bringing their cause to the national stage, Chavez led a historic march of farmworkers from Delano to Sacramento in 1966 and helped launch a successful boycott of grapes that galvanized support across the country and beyond.
Chavez’s tireless efforts were instrumental in the passage of the 1975 California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, which made our state the first in U.S. history to give farmworkers the right to join a union and engage in collective bargaining.
On the anniversary of his birth, we celebrate Cesar Chavez’s hard-won strides for social justice, and reflect on the work that lies ahead to build a brighter future for all our communities. Let us carry on his timeless legacy by lifting up our neighbors, speaking out against injustice, and working together to extend the dream of prosperity, equity and progress to all.
NOW THEREFORE I, GAVIN NEWSOM, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2022, as “Cesar Chavez Day.”