WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force, today introduced a Senate resolution to commemorate the life and legacy of Latino icon, labor champion and civil rights leader César Estrada Chávez. As the highest-ranking Latino in U.S. Congress, Menendez has lead the bicameral push for the past decade to honor Chavez by introducing this resolution but Republicans have blocked his efforts every single year. Earlier this week, the Senator took to twitter to denounce Republicans’ latest attempt at co-opting the legacy of Cesar Chavez by turning it into an anti-immigrant, nativist resolution in the House of Representatives.
“César Estrada Chávez was a true American hero who helped change the course of our nation’s history,” said Menendez. “The legendary labor and civil rights activist’s rallying cry of Si Se Puede remains as powerful and inspiring in the Trump era as it was when he was on the frontlines securing basic workers’ rights, defending immigrant and civil rights and improving education for the most vulnerable. In the wake of recent Republican proposals to undermine and co-opt the legacy of César Estrada Chávez, I vow to double down on this effort for congress to rightfully honor a patriot who continues to serve as an inspiration to millions engaged in advancing social justice and human rights throughout the world.”
Senator Menendez’s resolution was cosponsored by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Tina Smith (D-Wis.), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
The full text of the resolution can be found here.
March 31, 2018 marks 91 years since the birth of César Estrada Chávez. 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 timeless rallying catchphrase, "¡Sí se puede!” which went on to inspire President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan, “Yes We Can!”. Cesar E. Chavez was also a recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize during his lifetime and one year after he died, President Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom on August 8, 1994.