American labor leader and co-founder of the United Farm Workers (formerly known as the National Farm Workers Association) Cesar Chavez (1927 – 1993) speaks at a rally, Coachella, California, mid to late 1970s. (Photo by Cathy Murphy/Getty Images)

Latino icon César E. Chávez gets national monument, years in the making

It’s been years in the making, but finally civil rights icon César Estrada Chávez will have a home.  On October 8th, President Obama will travel to Keene, California to establish the César E. Chávez National Monument. The monument and gravesite which will be designated under the Antiquities Act – will be established on the property known as Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace), or La Paz.  The location is significant because it served as national headquarters of the United Farm Workers (UFW), which Chávez  founded as well as the home and workplace of  Chávez and his family from the early 1970’s until Chávez’ death in 1993.

“César Chávez gave a voice to poor and disenfranchised workers everywhere,” said President Obama. “La Paz was at the center of some of the most significant civil rights moments in our nation’s history, and by designating it a national monument, Chávez’ legacy will be preserved and shared to inspire generations to come.”

Chávez played a crucial role in achieving basic worker protections for hundreds of thousands of farmworkers across the country, from taking steps to protect worker’s from pesticide exposure, to making sure workers were given water to establishing a minimum wage for farm workers.

The land was donated by the National Chávez Center, along with the United Farm Workers of America, the César Chávez Foundation and members of César Chávez’s family to the federal government and will be managed by the National Park Service.

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