Menendez and Majority Leader Reid Release Statement on Their Effort to Honor Cesar E. Chavez

Menendez and Majority Leader Reid Release Statement on Their Effort to Honor Cesar E. Chavez

Washington DC - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) released the following statement today after their resolution to honor and commemorate civil rights leader César Estrada Chávez was obstructed by Senate Republicans:

"I am proud to introduce legislation commemorating the life and legacy of César Estrada Chávez - something I have done every year as Chairman of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force," said Senator Menendez. "Chávez was one of the greatest civil rights leaders of our time - a man who dedicated his life to fighting for equality, justice, and dignity not only for Hispanic farm workers, but for all workers in the United States. Chávez always said: 'the fight is never about grapes or lettuce; it's always about people.' His legacy serves as a source of inspiration to me and many others who believe in fairness and safety for every American worker.

"Regrettably, my Republican colleagues in the Senate are yet again standing in the way of giving César Chávez the recognition he deserves, despite their renewed interest in winning over Latino voters. The contrast could not be clearer: this is the seventh year in a row that I have introduced this important resolution honoring the anniversary of Chávez' birthday - and the seventh time that Republicans objected to passage by Unanimous Consent. If Republicans think that objecting to Chávez is a good start to their Hispanic outreach efforts, they ought to rethink their strategy."

"César Chávez dedicated his life to defending the rights not only of farm workers, but of all Americans who have suffered under discrimination or oppression. His life experience inspired him to defend those who toiled beside him, who were often oppressed because of their ethnicity," said Majority Leader Reid. "With fellow civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, he fought to abolish child labor, for safe and fair working conditions and for equal pay for equal work. As Congress considers immigration reform, we need to learn from César Chavez's example: fix what has gone wrong, and restore order and dignity to our broken immigration system.

"Unfortunately, Senate Republicans objected to honoring the true legacy of César Chávez. Instead of joining Democrats to honor this great American in a resolution celebrating his life, the Senate Republicans blocked the resolution. This is a disrespect for the legacy of an inspirational leader."

The full legislation can be found here

About César Estrada Chávez:

César Chávez was born March 31, 1927 and was the founder of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), the first successful farm workers union in American History. For more than three decades Chávez led the UFW to achieve dignity, respect, fair wages, medical coverage, pension benefits, and humane living conditions, as well as countless other rights and protections for hundreds of thousands of our nation's farm workers. His leadership on behalf of workers helped achieve the first industry-wide labor contracts in the history of American agriculture and brought about the passage of the groundbreaking 1975 California Agriculture Labor Relations Act.


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