By: Melanie Forti, Program Director
Today is a wonderful day to end the National Farmworker Awareness Week by celebrating Cesar Chavez 90th birthday! Chavez was a true American hero and we want to honor his legacy and commitment today, to amplifying the voice of the farmworker community, and fighting for their rights.
Cesar Chavez was unique person, he had a certain energy that you can rarely find these days. A person with true charisma, and a peaceful fighting spirit. Chavez fought for better wages and working conditions for farmworkers, but more than that, he sought to spread a message of dignity, respect, and justice for all farm workers in the U.S.
“We demand to be treated like the men we are! We are not slaves and we are not animals.” – Cesar Chavez
Words cannot express our gratitude toward the farmworker community. That’s why, during this week, AFOP and many organizations have come together to celebrate our nation’s farm workers through different events nationwide. AFOP Health & Safety Programs joined the effort by hosting its annual National Long Sleeve Shirt Drive with over 75 drop-off locations in 19 states. After shirts are collected, they will be distributed among the farmworker community.
“Chavez left a legacy as an educator, environmentalist, and a civil rights leader. And his cause lives on. As farmworkers and laborers across America continue to struggle for fair treatment and fair wages, we find strength in what Cesar Chavez accomplished so many years ago. And we should honor him for what he’s taught us about making America a stronger, more just, and more prosperous nation. That’s why I support the call to make Cesar Chavez’s birthday a national holiday. It’s time to recognize the contributions of this American icon to the ongoing efforts to perfect our union.” – Barack Obama March 31, 2008.
Cesar Chavez’s legacy is in our hands. In order to honor his efforts, we need to keep fighting to eliminate all the barriers and hardships that farmworkers endure. We need to bring justice to this vital role. We can only be part of Cesar Chavez’ legacy if we continue advocating for the elimination of law exemptions for agriculture workers in the US and child labor laws. Then, we can proudly claim to be a part of the farmworker movement ignited by Chavez.
AFOP truly believes in Cesar Chavez legacy and will continue to fight for equal rights for all of our nation’s farmworkers. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CESAR CHAVEZ!