Cesar Chavez Day

Cesar Chavez Day Quick Facts

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2024 DateApril 1, 2024
2025 DateMarch 31, 2025

Cesar Chavez Day

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Cesar Chavez Day History

Cesar Chavez Day commemorates the life and achievements of Cesar Chavez. Cesar Estrada Chavez was a Mexican-American farm worker who worked as an activist during the Civil Rights and Labor Movements. Chavez stood and fought for labor rights using methods of nonviolence such as boycotting and fasting. At the age of 17, Chavez served in the U.S. Navy for two years. After serving in the Navy, Chavez worked in the fields until 1952. He soon became the organizer of the Community Service Organization (CSO). He co-founded the National Farm Workers Association in 1962 with Dolores Huerta Chavez. They used the association to create unions and to lobby for better pay and safer working conditions in the farming community. Chavez passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 23, 1993.

Cesar Chavez Day has been observed since 2003. In 2014, it was officially proclaimed a federal holiday by U.S President Barack Obama. It is observed annually on March 31st.

Facts & quotes about Cesar Chavez Day

  • On August 8, 1994 U.S President Bill Clinton posthumously awarded Cesar Chavez with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor that can be awarded to a civilian by the United States of America. It is presented to individuals who improve the lives of men, women, and future generations. The Medal was accepted by Helen Chavez, wife and working partner of Cesar Chavez.
  • Cesar Chavez's 36-day Fast for Life aimed to raise awareness about the pesticides used by the grape industry. Chavez wanted to highlight the impact of these pesticides on farm workers and children. During this fast, Chavez lost 30 pounds, developed renal problems, and suffered severe muscle wastage.
  • We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community... Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own - Cesar Chavez.
  • I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate service, community, and education programs to honor César Chávez's enduring legacy - President Obama.
  • Sí, se puede (English translation, Yes, you can) is the motto of the United Farm Workers that Cesar Chavez established in 1972. During President Barack Obama's Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate, Yes, we can was used as the slogan for Obama's presidential campaign, inspired by Chavez.

Top things to do for Cesar Chavez Day

  • Watch the movie Cesar Chavez (2014) to learn more about Cesar Chavez and the principles he stood for.
  • Join, volunteer, and walk in the annual César E. Chavez March for Justice in San Antonio, TX.
  • Learn about other international activists who, like Cesar Chavez, also used non-violent peaceful demonstrations to support causes and bring about change. Some notable leaders include Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela.
  • Cesar Chavez protested against the use of pesticides that posed harm to the health and well-being of farm workers and their children. Learn about alternative farming techniques that do not utilize pesticides. The Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) provides resources, opportunities for involvement, and educational materials.
  • Read biographical novels about Cesar Chavez, such as The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography (Miriam Pawel, 2015), Cesar Chavez: Autobiography of La Causa (Jacques E. Levy, 2007) and An Organizer's Tale: Speeches (Cesar Chavez and Illan Stavans, 2008).

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