How will you celebrate Cesar Chavez Day?
State offices and schools will be closed on Thursday, March 31 in observance of Cesar Chavez Day, a U.S. federal commemorative holiday, proclaimed by President Barack Obama in 2014.
The holiday celebrates the birth and legacy of the civil rights and labor movement activist Cesar Chavez on March 31 every year.
Cesar Chavez was born March 31, 1927 and died April 23, 1993. He as an American farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist, who, with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers union, UFW).
It is commemorated to promote service to the community in honor of Cesar Chavez’s life and work. Some state government offices, community colleges, libraries, and public schools are closed. Texas also recognizes the day, and it is an optional holiday in Arizona (official holiday in the city of Phoenix, Arizona) and Colorado.
Americans are urged to “observe this day with appropriate service, community, and educational programs to honor Cesar Chavez’s enduring legacy.”
In addition, there are celebrations in his honor in Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska, and New Mexico and has been observed in California since 1995, in Texas since 2000 and in Colorado since 2003 as state holidays (optional in Texas and Colorado).
On March 31, 2008, while a senator, Barack Obama endorsed the idea of creating a national holiday in Chavez’s honor: “Chavez left a legacy as an educator, environmentalist, and a civil rights leader. And his cause lives on. As farm workers 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.”
Grassroots organizations continued to urge creation of such a national holiday; and, on March 30, 2011, Obama as president reiterated his support: “Cesar Chavez’s legacy provides lessons from which all Americans can learn.”
- Cesar Chavez: Shutterstock