Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday ~~ repost



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About Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday

About Cesar E. Chavez

About the Holiday

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National HolidaySend to: Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday 3325 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 1208 Los Angeles, CA 90010

About Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday

Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday was established by Los Angeles volunteers who organized and led the effort in California that won Cesar Chavez Day, the first legal state holiday and day of service and learning in honor of farm worker leader Cesar E. Chavez.  The legal holiday bill introduced by then State Senator Richard Polanco (Los Angeles-D) was signed into law by then Governor Gray Davis (D) on August 18, 2000. The holiday is celebrated in California on Cesar E. Chavez’s birthday March 31st.  This marked the first time that a labor leader or Latino has been honored with a public legal holiday.

The California legal holiday set into motion a wave of initiatives resulting in optional and commemorative Cesar Chavez Days in nine additional states (Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Rhode Island.)

Cesar Chavez Day brings together hundreds of thousands who engage in celebrations, service and learning projects, and other actions that further the many causes which Cesar Chavez worked for.

The mission of Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday, a public benefit organization, is to work for national recognition of Cesar E. Chavez on his birthday March 31.  We are forming national, state and local coalitions; organizing volunteer committees; and providing education about the value to our nation of honoring Cesar E. Chavez.

Our Vision

Cesar Chavez gave our nation and each of us a unique example to live our lives by.  His selfless dedication for farm worker and worker rights, economic justice, civil rights, environmental justice, peace, nonviolence, empowerment of the poor and disenfranchised, is a monumental legacy that will inspire all and the generations to come. The winning of national recognition for Cesar Chavez with holidays, service, learning and community action events, is a fitting tribute and significant way to share his life’s work as the founder and leader of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).

What is most important is that remembering and honoring Cesar Chavez inspires more people to become involved in the causes that continue Cesar Chavez’s extraordinary legacy.

Advisory Council

Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday extends our profound thanks to our advisors for their assistance that sheds light on our journey.

  • Jerry Acosta, Western Regional Director AFL-CIO
  • Richard Alarcon, Los Angeles City Council Member, former CA State Senator
  • Magdalena Beltran-del Olmo, Vice President of Communications, Wellness Foundation
  • Antonio Gonzalez, President, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SWVREP) & William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI)
  • Michael Jensen, Jensen Communications
  • State Senator Richard Polanco (Ret.), Chairman, California Latino Caucus Institute &author of the California holiday bill for Cesar Chavez
  • Ken Riley, Vice President, International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), Vice Pres.South Carolina AFL-CIO & President ILA Local 1422 (Charleston)
  • Ken Johnson, Southern Regional Director, AFL-CIO

Partners and Founding Sponsors

Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday wishes to thank our partners and founding sponsor organizations and individuals whose support insures our journey.

Partners

Founding Sponsors

  • International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) AFL-CIO
  • International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) Coast Committee
  • Utility Workers Union of America AFL-CIO Local 132
  • Service Employees International Union Local 535 (CA)
  • Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
  • Los Angeles City Employees Chicano Association (LACECA)
  • Royce Adams
  • Evelina Alarcon
  • Hernando Martinez
  • Dan Nemmers, Web design and development
  • Manny Rico
  • Gary Ruffner, Natl. Secretary Treasurer, UWUA

If you would like to become a partner or founding sponsor, please contact: Executive Director, Evelina Alarcon: EvelinaAlarcon@cesarchavezholiday.org

Endorsers of a Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday (Partial List)

  • AFL-CIO
  • NAACP
  • National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
  • League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  • National Latino Congreso
  • National Education Association (NEA)
  • Sierra Club
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
  • Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • Communication Workers of America (CWA)
  • Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA)
  • United Farm Workers of America (UFW)
  • Farm Labor Organizing Committee AFL-CIO (FLOC)
  • Los Angeles City Council
  • Philadelphia City Council
  • Board of Education of the City of Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (CA)
  • San Francisco Central Labor Council (CA)
  • King County Central Labor Council (WA)
  • Cesar E. Chavez Foundation
  • Dolores Huerta Foundation
  • US Senator John Edwards
  • Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
  • Pastor Warren Stewart, led state holiday effort for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Arizona
  • Carlos Santana
  • Actors– Edward James Olmos, Martin Sheen, George Lopez, Mike Farrell, Ed Begley Jr., Lupe Ontiveros, Esai Morales
  • Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU)
  • Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)
  • Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
  • Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)
  • Pride At Work
  • and many more!

Photos of Cesar Chavez Our sincere thanks to Oscar Castillo and Bob Fitch for the use of their photos of Cesar Chavez

If you would like to become an Endorser, contact Exec. Director Evelina Alarcon at: EvelinaAlarcon@cesarchavezholiday.org

 

On this day: March 31, 1889


ParisOriginally intended as a temporary installation, the Eiffel Tower has become one of the most enduring symbols of France and the industrial age.

On March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower is dedicated in Paris in a ceremony presided over by Gustave Eiffel, the tower’s designer, and attended by French Prime Minister Pierre Tirard, a handful of other dignitaries, and 200 construction workers.

In 1889, to honor of the centenary of the French Revolution, the French government planned an international exposition and announced a design competition for a monument to be built on the Champ-de-Mars in central Paris. Out of more than 100 designs submitted, the Centennial Committee chose Eiffel’s plan of an open-lattice wrought-iron tower that would reach almost 1,000 feet above Paris and be the world’s tallest man-made structure. Eiffel, a noted bridge builder, was a master of metal construction and designed the framework of the Statue of Liberty that had recently been erected in New York Harbor.

Eiffel’s tower was greeted with skepticism from critics who argued that it would be structurally unsound, and indignation from others who thought it would be an eyesore in the heart of Paris. Unperturbed, Eiffel completed his great tower under budget in just two years. Only one worker lost his life during construction, which at the time was a remarkably low casualty number for a project of that magnitude. The light, airy structure was by all accounts a technological wonder and within a few decades came to be regarded as an architectural masterpiece.

The Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall and consists of an iron framework supported on four masonry piers, from which rise four columns that unite to form a single vertical tower. Platforms, each with an observation deck, are at three levels. Elevators ascend the piers on a curve, and Eiffel contracted the Otis Elevator Company of the United States to design the tower’s famous glass-cage elevators.

The elevators were not completed by March 31, 1889, however, so Gustave Eiffel ascended the tower’s stairs with a few hardy companions and raised an enormous French tricolor on the structure’s flagpole. Fireworks were then set off from the second platform. Eiffel and his party descended, and the architect addressed the guests and about 200 workers. In early May, the Paris International Exposition opened, and the tower served as the entrance gateway to the giant fair.

The Eiffel Tower remained the world’s tallest man-made structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. Incredibly, the Eiffel Tower was almost demolished when the International Exposition’s 20-year lease on the land expired in 1909, but its value as an antenna for radio transmission saved it. It remains largely unchanged today and is one of the world’s premier tourist attractions.

http://www.history.com

On This Day ….


by UFW

The Story of Cesar Chavez
THE BEGINNING

The story of Cesar Estrada Chavez begins near Yuma, Arizona. Cesar was born on March 31, 1927.

He was named after his grandfather, Cesario. Regrettably, the story of Cesar Estrada Chavez also ends near Yuma, Arizona. He passed away on April 23, 1993, in San Luis, a small village near Yuma, Arizona.

He learned about justice or rather injustice early in his life. Cesar grew up in Arizona; the small adobe home, where Cesar was born was swindled from them by dishonest Anglos. Cesar’s father agreed to clear eighty acres of land and in exchange he would receive the deed to forty acres of land that adjoined the home. The agreement was broken and the land sold to a man named Justus Jackson. Cesar’s dad went to a lawyer who advised him to borrow money and buy the land.  Later when Cesar’s father could not pay the interest on the  loan the lawyer bought back the land and sold it to the original owner. Cesar learned a lesson about injustice that he would never forget. Later, he would say, The love for justice that  is in us is not only the best part of our being but it is also the most true to our nature.

            In 1938 he and his family moved to California. He lived in La Colonia Barrio in Oxnard for a short period, returning to Arizona several months later. They returned to California in June 1939 and this time settled in San Jose. They lived in the barrio called Sal Si Puedes -“Get Out If You Can.” Cesar thought the only way to get out of the circle of poverty was to work his way up and send the kids to college.  He and his family worked in the fields of California from Brawley to Oxnard, Atascadero, Gonzales, King City, Salinas, McFarland, Delano Wasco, Selma, Kingsburg, and Mendota.

He did not like school as a child, probably because he spoke only Spanish at home. The teachers were mostly Anglo and only spoke English. Spanish was forbidden in school. He remembers being punished with a ruler to his knuckles for violating the rule. He also remembers that some schools were segregated and he felt that in the integrated schools he was like a monkey in a cage. He remembers having to listen to a lot of racist remarks. He remembers seeing signs that read whites only. He and his brother, Richard, attended thirty-seven  schools. He felt that education had nothing to do with his farm worker/migrant way of life. In 1942 he graduated from the eighth grade. Because his father, Librado, had been in an accident and because he did not want his mother, Juana, to work in the fields, he could not to go to high school, and instead became a migrant farm worker.

While his childhood school education was not the best, later in life, education was his passion. The walls of his office in La Paz (United Farm Worker Headquarters ) are lined with hundreds of books ranging from philosophy, economics, cooperatives, and unions, to biographies on Gandhi and the Kennedys’. He believed that, “The end of all education should surely be service to others,” a belief that he practiced until his untimely death.

He joined the U.S. Navy, which was then segregated, in 1946, at the age of 19, and served for two years.

In 1948 Cesar married Helen Fabela. They honeymooned in California by visiting all the California Missions from Sonoma to San Diego (again the influence of education). They settled in Delano and started their family. First Fernando, then Sylvia, then Linda, and five  more children were to follow.

Cesar returned to San Jose where he met and was influenced by Father Donald McDonnell. They talked about farm workers and strikes. Cesar began reading about St. Francis and Gandhi and nonviolence. After Father McDonnell came another very influential person, Fred Ross.

Cesar became an organizer for Ross’ organization, the Community Service Organization – CSO. His first task was voter registration.

THE UNITED FARM WORKERS IS BORN

In 1962 Cesar founded the National Farm Workers Association, later to become the United Farm Workers – the UFW. He was joined by Dolores Huerta and the union was born. That same year Richard Chavez designed the UFW Eagle and Cesar chose the black and red colors. Cesar told the story of the birth of the eagle. He asked Richard to design the flag, but Richard could not make an eagle that he liked. Finally he sketched one on a piece of brown wrapping paper. He then squared off the wing edges so that the eagle would be easier for union members to draw on the handmade red flags that would give courage to the farm workers with their own powerful symbol. Cesar made reference to the flag by stating, “A symbol is an important thing. That is why we chose an Aztec eagle. It gives pride . . . When people see it they know it means dignity.”

For a long time in 1962, there were very few union dues paying members.  By 1970 the UFW got grape growers to accept union contracts and had             effectively organized most of that industry, at one point in time claiming 50,000 dues paying members. The reason was Cesar Chavez’s  tireless leadership and nonviolent tactics that included the Delano  grape strike, his fasts that focused national attention on farm workers  problems, and the 340-mile march from Delano to Sacramento in 1966.  The farm workers and supporters carried banners with the black eagle  with HUELGA (strike) and VIVA LA CAUSA (Long live our cause). The  marchers wanted the state government to pass laws which would permit farm workers to organize into a union and allow collective bargaining  agreements. Cesar made people aware of the struggles of farm workers  for better pay and safer working conditions. He succeeded through             nonviolent tactics (boycotts, pickets, and strikes). Cesar Chavez  and the union sought recognition of the importance and dignity of  all farm workers.

It was the beginning of La Causa a cause that was supported by  organized labor, religious groups, minorities, and students. Cesar Chavez had the foresight to train his union workers and then to  send many of them into the cities where they were to use the boycott and picket as their weapon.

Cesar was willing to sacrifice his own life so that the union would  continue and that violence was not used. Cesar fasted many times.  In 1968 Cesar went on a water only, 25 day fast. He repeated the  fast in 1972 for 24 days, and again in 1988, this time for 36 days.  What motivated him to do this? He said, Farm workers everywhere  are angry and worried that we cannot win without violence. We have proved it before through persistence, hard work, faith and willingness  to sacrifice. We can win and keep our own self-respect and build  a great union that will secure the spirit of all people if we do  it through a rededication and recommitment to the struggle for justice  through nonviolence.

THE FAST

Many events precipitated the fast, especially the terrible suffering of the farm workers and their children,                     the crushing of farm worker rights, the dangers of pesticides,  and the denial of fair and free elections.

Cesar said about the fast, ” A fast is first and foremost personal. It is a fast for the purification of my own body, mind, and soul. The fast is also a heartfelt prayer for purification and strengthening for all those who work beside me in the farm worker movement. The fast is also an act of penance for those in positions of moral authority and for all men and women activists who know what is right and just, who know that they could and should do more. The fast is finally a declaration of non-cooperation with supermarkets who promote and sell and profit from California table grapes. During the past few years I have been studying the plague of pesticides on our land and our food,” Cesar continued “The evil is far greater than even I had thought it to be, it threatens to choke out the life of our people and also the life system that supports us all. This solution to this deadly crisis will not be found in the arrogance of the powerful, but in  solidarity with the weak and helpless. I pray to God that this fast will be a preparation for a multitude of simple deeds for justice. Carried out by men and women whose hearts  are focused on the suffering of the poor and who yearn, with us, for a better world. Together, all things are possible.”

Cesar Chavez completed his 36-day Fast for Life on August 21, 1988. The Reverend Jesse Jackson took up where Cesar left off, fasting on water for three days before passing on the fast to celebrities  and leaders. The fast was passed to Martin Sheen, actor; the Reverend  J. Lowery, President SCLC; Edward Olmos, actor; Emilio Estevez,  actor; Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert Kennedy, Peter Chacon,  legislator, Julie Carmen, actress; Danny Glover, actor; Carly Simon,  singer; and Whoopi Goldberg, actress.

THE DEATH OF CESAR CHAVEZ

Cesar Estrada Chavez died peacefully in his sleep on April 23, 1993 near Yuma, Arizona, a short distance from the small family farm in the Gila River Valley where he was born more than 66 years before.The founder and president of the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO was in Yuma helping UFW attorneys defend the union against a lawsuit brought by Bruce Church Inc., a giant Salinas,  Calif.-based lettuce and vegetable producer. Church demanded that the farm workers pay millions of dollars in damages resulting  from a UFW boycott of its lettuce during the 1980’s. Rather than bring the legal action in a state where the boycott actually  took place, such as California or New York, Church “shopped around” for a friendly court in conservative, agribusiness-dominated Arizona-where there had been no boycott activity.

“Cesar gave his last ounce of strength defending the farm workers  in this case,” stated his successor, UFW President Arturo Rodriguez,  who was with him in Arizona during the trial. He died standing up  for their First Amendment right to speak out for themselves. He believed in his heart that the farm workers were right in boycotting Bruce Church Inc. lettuce during the l980’s and he was determined  to prove that in court.” (When the second multimillion dollar judgment  for Church was later thrown out by an appeal’s court, the company  signed a UFW contract in May 1996.

After the trial recessed at about 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 22,  Cesar spent part of the afternoon driving through Latino neighborhoods  in Yuma that he knew as a child. Many Chavezes still live in the area.

He arrived about 6 p.m. in San Luis, Arizona-about 20 miles from Yuma, at the modest concrete-block home of Dofla Maria Hau, a former  farm worker and longtime friend. Cesar and eight other UFW leaders  and staff were staying at her house in a poor farm worker neighborhood not far from the Mexican border.

Cesar ate dinner at around 9 p.m. and presided over a brief meeting  to review the day’s events. He had just finished two days of often grueling examination by attorneys for Bruce Church Inc.

He talked to his colleagues about taking care of themselves-a recent  recurring theme with Cesar because he was well aware of the long hours required from him and other union officers and staff. Still,  he was in good spirits despite being exhausted after prolonged questioning on the witness stand; he complained about feeling some weakness  when doing his evening exercises.

The UFW founder went to bed at about 10 or 10:30 p.m. A union staff  member said he later saw a reading light shining from Cesar’s room.

The light was still on at 6 a.m. the next morning. That was not  seen as unusual. Cesar usually woke up in the early hours of the  morning well before dawn to read, write or meditate.

When he had not come out by 9 a.m., his colleagues entered his  bedroom found that Cesar had died apparently, according to authorities,  at night in his sleep.

He was found lying on his back with his head turned to the left. His shoes were off and he still wore his clothes from the day before. In his right hand was a book on Native American crafts. There was  a peaceful smile on his face.

THE LAST MARCH WITH CESAR CHAVEZ

On April 29, 1993, Cesar Estrada  Chavez was honored in death by those he led in life. More than  50,000 mourners came to honor the charismatic labor leader at the site of his first public fast in 1968 and his last in 1988, the United Farm Workers Delano Field Office at “Forty Acres.”It was the largest funeral of any labor leader in the history of the U.S. They came in caravans from Florida to California to pay respect to a man whose strength was in his simplicity.Farm workers, family members, friends and union staff took turns standing vigil over the plain pine coffin which held the body of Cesar Chavez. Among the honor guard were many                     celebrities who had supported Chavez throughout his years  of struggle to better the lot of farmworkers throughout America.

Many of the mourners had marched side by side with Chavez during his tumultuous years in the vineyards and farms of America. For  the last time, they came to march by the side of the man who had taught them to stand up for their rights, through nonviolent protest and collective bargaining.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahoney, who celebrated the funeral mass, called  Chavez “a special prophet for the worlds’ farm workers.” Pall bearers,   including crews of these workers, Chavez children and grandchildren,  then carried their fallen leader, resting at last, from the Memorial  Park to Forty Acres.

The death of Chavez marked an era of dramatic changes in American agriculture. His contributions would be eroded, and others would have to shoulder the burden of his work. But, Cesar Chavez, who insisted that those who labor in the earth were entitled to share fairly in the rewards of their toil, would never be forgotten.

As Luis Valdez said, “Cesar, we have come to plant your heart like a seed . . . the farm workers shall harvest in the seed of your  memory.”
              FINAL RESTING PLACE/FINAL RECOGNITION

The body of Cesar Chavez was taken to La Paz, the UFW’s California headquarters, by his family and UFW leadership. He was laid to rest near a bed of roses, in front of his office.On August 8, 1994, at a White House ceremony, Helen Chavez, Cesar’s widow, accepted the Medal of Freedom for her late  husband from President Clinton. In the citation accompanying America’s highest civilian honor which was awarded posthumously, the President lauded Chavez for having “faced formidable,often violent opposition with dignity and nonviolence.And he was victorious. Cesar Chavez left our world better  than he found it, and his legacy inspires us still. He was for his own people a Moses figure,” the President declared. “The farm workers who labored in the fields and yearned for  respect and self-sufficiency pinned their hopes on this remarkable  man who, with faith and discipline, soft spoken humility and amazing inner strength, led a very courageous life”

The citation accompanying the award noted how Chavez was a farm worker from childhood who “possessed a deep personal understanding  of the plight of migrant workers, and he labored all his years to lift their lives.” During his lifetime, Chavez never earned more   than $5,000 a year. The late Senator Robert Kennedy called him “one of the heroic figures of our time.”

Chavez’s successor, UFW President Arturo Rodriguez, thanked the president on behalf of the United Farm Workers and said, “Every day in California and in other states where farm workers are organizing,  Cesar Chavez lives in their hearts. Cesar lives wherever Americans’ he inspired work nonviolently for social change.”

Indigenous voices lead largest climate march ever ~~ a repost


“The protection of nature, forests, and ecosystems is the responsibility of everyone.
What happens will ultimately affect us all. We are standing up for our lives, yours, the entire world and for the lives of future generations!”
– Patricia Gualinga, Kichwa leader from the Ecuadorian Amazon
 a small group made big waves in New York City. Amazonian indigenous spokespeople and social movement leaders led more than 400,000 others at the People’s Climate March. Amazon Watch joined front-line indigenous communities and representatives in demanding that humanity keep the oil in the ground as a fundamental solution to climate chaos. From the Arctic to the Amazon, leadership ofindigenouspeoples in climate solutions was on full display.

Read the rest and see videos and photos on Eye on the Amazon »

posted 9/27/2014

Marshall Islands See Climate as Security Threat ~ a repost


The Marshall Islands and other low-lying island nations have appealed to the UN Security Council to recognise climate change as an international security threat that jeopardises their survival.

Tony deBrum, a Minister and assistant to the Marshall Islands’ President, said the island nations were facing opposition from Security Council permanent members Russia and China and more than 130 developing nations.

They are arguing that the United Nation‘s most powerful body is the wrong place to address climate change.

After a closed Security Council meeting on the “Security Dimensions of Climate Change”, organised by Britain and Pakistan, DeBrum said he hoped more council members would be convinced “this is a security issue”, not just an economic, political or social one.

The low-lying islands, which are already being inundated with sea water, want the council to bring its “political weight” to the issue to help their countries survive, for example, by harnessing new technologies and ensuring alternative energy supplies.

DeBrum said it was “ironic, bizarre perhaps” that 35 years after he was before the Security Council seeking the independence of the Marshall Islands, he was back “to appeal for the survival of my country”.

He said climate change had already taken a toll on the Marshall Islands.

Wells had filled with salt water, making drinking water scarce and affecting food production. One small island was under water, and coastlines are being eroded.

The impact of climate change was also causing migration to other islands, as well as to Australia and the US, he said.

Rachel Kyte, the World Bank’s vice-president for sustainable development, said since the council’s last discussion of climate change “the sense of immediacy and urgency has increased”.

Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Masood Khan said the meeting would galvanise action in UN forums to combat climate change. AP

First posted 2/17/2013