Sunday, August 6, 2017

Cesar Chavez National Monument

While crossing the California Desert in the most miserable 115-degree heat imaginable I wandered onto a country highway and found this...


The Cesar E Chavez National Monument.

On October 8, 2012, President Obama signed a Presidential Proclamation, creating the Cesar E Chavez National Monument.  


This peaceful "La Paz" site in the Tehachapi Mountains northeast of Los Angeles, commemorates  Chavez and the struggles and accomplishments of the farm worker movement.


 Daisy was not allowed into the museum and the RV was way too hot for her.    So we walked through the gardens while I recalled the famous 'Grape Boycott' of 1975.  It was the boycott that led to the Agricultural Labor Relations Act allowing farm workers to organize.

Widely recognized as the most important Latino leader in the U.S. during the twentieth century, Chavez led farm workers and supporters in the establishment of the country's first permanent agricultural union.


La Paz became the national headquarters of the UFW; the home and workplace of Chavez, his family, union members and supporters from the early 1970s until his death in 1993.


The residential buildings, administrative offices and maintenance shops had formerly served as a tuberculosis sanitarium. Cesar Chavez and his family moved to the grounds along with volunteers, union members and supporters.  Thousands more streamed through La Paz in support of the movement.  


Major field strikes and national boycotts led to the enactment of California's historic 1975 Agricultural Labor Relations Act, still the nation's only law establishing the right of farm workers to organize.


The union was instrumental in getting the short-handled hoe banned.  Being a gardener myself, I can only cringe whenever I look at those implements.  My back would not last a whole day.


The nonviolence ethic lay at the core of the farm worker movement.


Chavez stood for equality, justice and dignity for all Americans.
He asked to be buried at La Paz.  His grave is among the roses.

3 comments:

  1. We stumbled onto the monument earlier this year. I was really happy to see it as I have long admired Chavez's commitment to the farm workers.
    You didn't miss a lot by not visiting the museum. It's getting a complete overhaul now that the NPS is involved and the exhibits are still a bit skimpy.

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  2. This is wonderful and well-deserved. I remember the lettuce boycott and protests that went on in San Francisco all those years ago.

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  3. Catching up to you. Can't believe the heat there. I've never experienced anything over 105 degrees, and that was in Portland!
    Seeing Mary and Jim this p.m. at a neighborhood party!

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