Tomorrow is Cesar Chavez Day in Texas, California and other states around the Union.

The holiday honors the noted labor and civil rights leader who championed for justice and equality, as well as solidarity. The charismatic leader co-founded the National Farmworkers Association, which went on to become United Farm Workers, and emphasized non-violence as he squared off against the powerhouses of the agricultural industry, uniting Latinos to fight for their rights, as both workers and citizens.

Despite his accomplishments and an initiative launched in 2008, there is still no national holiday honoring Mr. Chavez. Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., introduced a bill designating the fourth Friday of every March to be observed as “Cesar E. Chavez Day” -- read more. This is the second time Mr. Baca has introduced the legislation; the first was in 2007 but it was blocked by House Republicans.

Mr. Olmos, who co-chairs the movement with Carlos Santana and Martin Sheen, has this to say of Chavez and the initiative: 

"Cesar Chavez deserves to be honored with a National Holiday. His life is a beacon of light toward the advancements of all cultures. He gave more than he ever received. Lived the life of one who is truly enlightened by the wisdom embodied in love, kindness and forgiveness. He, like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa and others understood the meaning of non-violent social change and used it to elevate the Human Condition. His life should be nurtured into our future and emulated by generations to come. Cesar Chavez is truly a gift to humanity and we as a nation should celebrate his life at least once a year, by way of a National Legal Holiday. We ALL deserve it!"

 

Edward James Olmos

 January 2008

Here is a video tribute to Mr. Chavez, featuring Edward James Olmos, Martin Sheen and others: 

And another retrospective of an ordinary man who did the extraordinary:

If you want to learn more about Mr. Chavez -- and I hope you do -- visit the CesarChavezFoundation.org.

If you want to sign the petition in support of Cesar Chavez Day, visit CesarChavezHoliday.org.

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