Locals mark Cesar Chavez anniversary

April 24, 2013 12:07:58 AM PDT
Twenty years have passed since United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez passed away. Chavez once said if the movement didn't survive his death, then his work would have been in vain.

President Obama dedicated the Cesar Chavez national monument in Keene, California on October 8th of last year. During his address he said, "Most importantly, let's live up to his example."

Funeral services for Chavez were held April 23, 1993 in Delano. Jose Luis Barraza of El Concilio de Fresno boarded a bus to attend the funeral. He recalled the improvements Chavez helped make for farm workers.

"There's no longer the short-hand hoe, there's no longer the pesticide that affected the farm worker," said Barraza. "The ability to have a toilet and cold water while they work. Those are the legacies."

Barraza said the movement spear-headed by Chavez isn't dead.

The Cesar Chavez Foundation opened a Fresno office in January. It deals with immigration issues and property management.

The non-profit UFW Foundation also opened an office in Fresno this year. Outreach coordinator Clarita Cortes said the office serves and educates the community.

"What the foundation does is it provides immigration services such as family petitions," said Cortes. "We do citizenship, deferred action."

Cortes added the UFW Foundation is building on Chavez' push to get people more involved with their community.

"When we see Cesar Chavez's face we always see the struggle for social justice," said Cortes. "Especially for the farm workers."

Both Cortes and Barraza hoped to see real progress made in Washington in talks over immigration reform.


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