On Cesar Chavez's Birthday, Menendez Honors His Legacy, Decries Republican Blockage Of Resolution Commemorating American Civil Rights Hero

On Cesar Chavez's Birthday, Menendez Honors His Legacy, Decries Republican Blockage Of Resolution Commemorating American Civil Rights Hero

Sen. Menendez, co-chair of the Senate Hispanic Task Force, says action further illustrates how Republicans are out of touch with Latino values

Washington - Today marks the 81st anniversary of the birth of one of the nation's foremost civil rights and labor leaders, Cesar Estrada Chavez. Despite the ongoing efforts of Democrats in the Senate to pass a resolution honoring this prominent Latino civil rights leader, Senate Republicans blocked it last year and have done so again this year.

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), co-chair of the Senate Hispanic Task Force, issued the following statement, illustrating the importance of Chavez's legacy and decrying the Republican objection to the resolution.

"The legacy of Cesar Chavez continues to resonate today, from rural agricultural fields to urban centers across this nation, and his achievements are an inspiration to all hard-working Americans who want to achieve a better quality of life. Remembering his legacy reinforces the belief that all hard-working individuals deserve the right to bargain collectively to achieve better wages, better health benefits and suitable working conditions. As the son of poor, working-class parents who were not afforded the benefits of a union, I am moved by Cesar Chavez's selfless work on behalf of others.

"The actions by Senate Republicans to continue blocking a resolution commemorating Cesar Chavez seems like an outright rebuke of the historical contributions of Latinos to our nation and the legacy of his movement. Chavez is a hero to millions of Americans, Hispanic or not, and he should be honored with dignity. This action further illustrates that Republicans are out of touch with Latino values and priorities, as well as the values and priorities of working Americans."

Cesar Estrada Chavez was born 81 years ago, on March 31, 1927, in Arizona to poor migrant farm workers. Following the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., in 1962 Cesar Chavez co-founded the first successful farm workers union in the United States -- the United Farm Workers (UFW) to campaign for safe and fair working conditions, reasonable wages, decent housing, and the outlawing of child labor. He inspired hope in these workers through his great rallying catchphrase, "Sí Se Puede." Cesar E. Chavez was a recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize during his lifetime and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on August 8, 1994.

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