First Lady Jill Biden visits Kern County to celebrate César Chávez Day

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It was a memorable and emotional day for 31 people from nine nations who became American citizens on Monday morning in the South Valley.

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden took part in the ceremony, congratulating them and celebrating the birthday of Cesar Chavez three days early.

It was a dream come true for them at the National Chavez Center in Keene, and the First Lady had a motivating speech.

"America is and has always been defined by us and now you. We the people," she said.

Cesar Chavez's son, Paul Chavez, had a front-row seat, witnessing the emotions seen throughout the hour-long ceremony.

He says having the First Lady visit and express encouragement and recognize his father three days before what would have been his 95th birthday is an honor.

"When there was talk about embracing our diversity, I saw a lot of people smile because they knew they didn't have to give up their past to be an American. It was heartwarming and reaffirming," Chavez said.

Jhoana Landeros has lived in America for over 20 years and is a proud Latina truck driver.

For her, this day is a result of her hard work and says she's not done dreaming.

"She inspired me to be better and work hard and reach all my goals because I am not going to stop here," Landeros said.

Another big moment was the recognition of Teresa Romero as an outstanding American By Choice.

"With your leadership, the UFW continues to be a voice of justice and humanity," said the First Lady.

She is the first immigrant woman to lead a national union and became president of UFW in 2018.

Her words also inspired many in this room never to give up.

"We can make a difference, and we can overcome obstacles through our own faith and determination," said Romero.

Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.