President Obama released a statement on Friday, March 29, proclaiming March 31st “Cesar Chavez Day, 2013”. March 31st marks the birthday of the co-founder of the United Farm Workers (formerly National Farm Workers Association), and also falls on Easter Sunday this year.
[I], BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2013, as Cesar Chavez Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate service, community, and education programs to honor Cesar Chavez’s enduring legacy.
President Obama is the only president to name a day after Chavez. So who exactly is Cesar Chavez and what is his “enduring legacy”?
Cesar Chavez became a protege of Saul Alinsky in the early 1950s when he was hired as a staff member to organize Mexican-American voter registration drives for Community Services Organization–Alinsky’s organization. Chavez learned first hand from Alinsky, the self-proclaimed “professional radical,” about the tactics of revolution and community organizing.
In 1962, Chavez left CSO to cultivate his own farm workers’ union. He spent years organizing farm workers across the state of California to engage in strikes against grape growers that lasted years at a time. In 1970, after nearly three years of grape strikes, 26 California Grape Growers caved into Chavez and signed three-year contracts with UFW.
Chavez was out of luck three years later when the Teamsters Union outbid Chavez and the UFW with lower costs and less hassle. Chavez organized a second grape strike despite the circumstances (significantly depleted staff and contract supply).
While Chavez previously managed to maintain a violence-free atmosphere (the most extreme tactic being a hunger strike), a spree of violence erupted between the UFW and the Teamsters that resulted in numerous clashes and the death of two UFW members.
Radicalism, violence, scare tactics, and bullying–that’s quite a legacy.
President Obama took time to honor March 31st as a day to celebrate a man “who made justice his life’s calling.” As Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro reported earlier, Google also celebrated Easter Sunday with a picture of Chavez as their featured logo.