March 31 is Cesar Chavez Day, which honors the farm worker who became one of the most powerful forces for workers’ rights in the 20th century. His dedication to his cause helped improve the lives of millions of people and continues to inspire nearly 25 years after his death.
An Incredible Legacy
Chavez founded the United Farm Workers of America, helping eliminate injustices that had plagued workers for decades. He faced some of the most powerful industries in the country, fighting for economic justice and empowerment of the poor through nonviolent means.
Born in 1927, Chavez was a migrant worker by the time he turned 10. He left school after the eighth grade in order to help support his family, but that did not stop him from becoming an articulate and extremely effective advocate for farm workers. As a matter of fact, he and his wife taught many of these workers to read and write, helping them ultimately become U.S. citizens.
He started fighting economic and racial discrimination at the age of 25, and became national director of the Community Service Organization by the age of 32. He founded the National Farm Workers Association (which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW)) in 1962.
Chavez helped convince more than 5,000 farm workers to strike California grape fields, and would eventually spur millions of Americans to support the cause in 1968. His efforts eventually helped force grape growers to finally accept union contracts.
Chavez remained deeply involved in his cause until his death on April 23, 1993. The California State Legislature passed a law making Chavez’ birthday a state holiday in 2000 – the first public legal holiday honoring a Latino or a labor leader.
Continuing the Fight
This obviously just scratches the surface of the incredible life of Cesar Chavez. At Baron & Budd, we honor trailblazers such as Chavez through the work we perform on behalf of those who have been laid off unfairly, not paid the wages they have earned, or stricken with terrible diseases due to asbestos exposure on the job.
We will never lose our passion for “Protecting What’s Right.”