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Hope everyone had a great Passover week and a great Easter weekend.  But did you know that yesterday was also César Chávez Day?  If you didn't, Senators Tom Udall (D. NM) and Martin Heinrich (D. NM) introduced legislation before Congress took it's break to recognize March 31st as César Chávez Day.  You can read the entire resolution here:

The Senate Resolution is backed by the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force, which Senators Udall and Heinrich serve on.  For those of you who need a little background on Chavez, here's a quick bio about him from his Wikipedia page:

Cesar Chavez (born César Estrada Chávez, locally: [ˈsesaɾ esˈtɾaða ˈtʃaβes]; March 31, 1927 – April 23, 1993) was an American farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist, who, with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers union, UFW).

A Mexican American, Chavez became the best known Latino American civil rights activist, and was strongly promoted by the American labor movement, which was eager to enroll Hispanic members. His public-relations approach to unionism and aggressive but nonviolent tactics made the farm workers' struggle a moral cause with nationwide support. By the late 1970s, his tactics had forced growers to recognize the UFW as the bargaining agent for 50,000 field workers in California and Florida. However, by the mid-1980s membership in the UFW had dwindled to around 15,000.

After his death he became a major historical icon for the Latino community, organized labor, and liberal movement, symbolizing support for workers and for Hispanic power based on grass roots organizing and his slogan "Sí, se puede" (Spanish for "Yes, one can" or, roughly, "Yes, it can be done"). His supporters say his work led to numerous improvements for union laborers. His birthday, March 31, has become Cesar Chavez Day, a state holiday in California, Colorado, and Texas.

Here's what Udall and Heinrich had to say about the resolution:

"In the long march of human rights, César Chávez is a towering figure," said Udall. "On the anniversary of his birthday, we honor his compassion, sacrifice and dedication to the rights of workers and the dignity of every human being. With remarkable courage, and humility, César Chávez gave a voice to those who were so often unheard. This great American continues to inspire us, and we truly honor him when we remember that his cause endures and the promise of America moves forward."  

"It is an honor to pay tribute to César Chávez, a true American hero and a remarkable public servant," said Heinrich. "César Chávez is revered by people throughout the world as a humble activist who led a monumental fight to achieve fair wages, worker protections, human rights, and human dignity for the most underrepresented in our society. Let us continue to meet each challenge the way César Chávez did, with hope, determination, and service to others. And to always remember his great rallying cry, ¡Sí, se puede!"

New Mexico is one of 10 states to honor the life and legacy of César Chávez on March 31 of each year. In New Mexico, César Chávez Day brings communities together to celebrate and contribute to service and learning projects across the state. - KRWG TV/FM, 3/29/13

Chávez's name was in the national press again as part of "major controversy":

Conservative bloggers hopped all over Google after the search engine giant on Sunday used its Google Doodle to recognize Cesar Chavez — and not Easter.

“March 31 marks the birthday of National Farm Workers Association (later United Farm Workers) co-founder Cesar Chavez,” Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro wrote. “Chavez, who was trained by Saul Alinsky in the tactics of community organizing, has become a cult figure in California due to his organization of agricultural workers. March 31 also happens to be another important date this year: Easter. So, naturally, Google’s current logo features a graphic of Chavez’s face, rather than anything having to do with Easter.”

He added: “[As] millions of Christians return home from Easter vigil on the holiest day of their calendar, they are currently being greeted by Cesar Chavez in a white suit.”

On the right-leaning The Daily Caller, Mickey Kaus hit Google and Chavez on his labor legacy.

“Google should google it: Cesar Chavez’s legacy on illegal immigration may not be what Google thinks it is. … As a labor leader, Chavez realized that uncontrolled immigration undercut his workers’ bargaining position — as late as 1979 he inveighed against ‘illegal alien strikebreakers’ before Congress. Some of his tactics were even less than Gandhiesque,” Kaus wrote.

Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy website also criticized Google’s move.

“Yep. While two billion Christians around the world celebrate Easter Sunday on this 31st day of March, Google is using its famous ‘Doodle’ search logo art to mark the birth of left-wing labor leader Cesar Chavez. For real,” Twitchy’s staff wrote. “Google’s Doodle logo overlords sure have a way of rubbing their politics in people’s noses.” - Politico, 4/1/13

You should give the Politico article a read because Daily Kos founder, Markos Moulitsas' reaction over how Twitchy confused both Hugo and Cesar Chavez is priceless.  I'd like to thank Senators Udall and Heinrich for continuing to push for Chavez's legacy to be remembered and honored properly in the U.S.  He is an essential figure to both the Latino community and the labor movement.  By the way, Udall and Heinrich are getting some praise in the local press for their work in securing funding for land and water conservation in New Mexico:

New Mexico's ability to attract sportsmen and outdoors enthusiasts is one of the state's best assets, and nowhere in the state is this more important than here in Southwest New Mexico. Long before the birth of the modern environmental movement, the slogan of Silver City's daily newspaper was "Published in the best out-of-doors country out-of-doors." Our public lands are no less important to our local economy today, and I believe that it is important that we put conservation of our public lands at least on equal ground with development to keep the revenue flowing to rural counties like ours, and the local job market growing.

That is why I was excited to learn that New Mexico's U.S. senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, have sponsored legislation to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Offshore drilling fees, rather than taxpayer dollars, fund the LWCF. These funds have been used to protect public lands and water resources, provide access to them for recreation, and create and enhance thousands of parks, playgrounds, ball fields, and trails and across the country.

In New Mexico, LWCF has been used to protect lands that help define our state including El Malpais and Petroglyph National Monuments.

Here in southwestern New Mexico, LWCF has helped make accessible many well-known destinations including the Gila National Forest, City of Rocks and the Organ Mountains. In our communities, LWCF matching grants have supported many of the recreational opportunities we enjoy close to home, including Downtown Silver City's Big Ditch Park and ball fields in Deming, Gila and Cliff.

Unfortunately, LWCF's annual authorized amount of $900 million has only been fully funded twice in the program's fifty-year history. Sens. Udall and Heinrich hope to change that.

Under the bill that our Senators are sponsoring — the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act of 2013 — LWCF will finally receive the maximum funding authorized by Congress when the program was created. - Las Cruces Sun-News, 3/31/13

Udall is up for re-election next year.  If you'd like to donate to his 2014 re-election campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 10:13 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Climate Hawks, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, New Mexico Kossaks, and LatinoKos.

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