César Chavez day is observed every year on March 31 . It celebrates the birthday and work of civil rights and labor movement leader César Chávez.
It is a state holiday in 10 states, such as California, Arizona, and Colorado, where schools and state offices are closed, and people get the day off accordingly.
Who was Cesar Chavez
Born in Arizona in 1927, Chávez was a Mexican-American migrant farm worker from the age of 10.
After losing their property during the Great Depression, his family had to travel around the country farming and picking fruit and vegetables at measly wages to survive.
It was the hardships of migrant workers who have experienced unfair treatment, low wages, and poor working conditions including himself that made him want to fight for better conditions.
He joined the US Navy at the age of 17 to escape the migrant farmer life. But, he started regretting it and left after two years to go back to farming in the fields until 1952 when he became a labor organizer.
Chávez also became a civil rights advocate that year by joining and becoming an active member of the Community Service Organization.
In 1962 he co-founded the National Farm Workers Association with Dolores Huerta Chávez, where he unionized farm workers, and fought for better pay and safer working conditions. The NFWA quickly became the first successful farmers union in America.
In 1965, the NFWA joined forces with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, by organizing the first strike against grape growers. The strike lasted for five years and successfully ended with the grape growers offering the workers proper contracts and pay.
One year later, these two associations were merged. Finally, in 1972 it was named the United Farm Workers, and Chávez was president until his death in 1993.
César Chávez became notorious for the nonviolent ways in which he protested and fought for his beliefs and principles.
He stood for the farm workers' rights by leading marches, boycotts, and hunger strikes, and he did the same against racial discrimination towards Chicanos.
After his death, 50,000 people attended his funeral, and he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.
History of César Chávez Day
The birthday of César Chávez has been commemorated in the state of Nevada since 2003. A state law was also passed in 2009 proclaiming that the state's governor has to make an annual declaration marking March 31 as César Chávez day.
In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama presented the idea of ????declaring March 31 a federal holiday in honor of the civil rights activist.
This was picked up and supported by several Grass root Organizations.
It was not until March 28, 2014, that President Barack Obama officially declared March 31st as César Chávez Day.
How To Honor César Chávez Day
This day became a commemoration to promote and encourage people to serve their communities.
This is why community and civil rights leaders take this day to give speeches about the legacy and values ????of César Chávez, and how his work and struggles positively impacted society. César Chávez, and how his work and struggles positively impacted society.
This is also a day to bring the public's attention to issues regarding worker's rights, such as the need for proper medical coverage and fair wages.