President Joe Biden on Friday tweeted a video calling Cesar Chavez “an inspiration to millions,” including him.
“Chavez instilled in our nation the principle that ‘Our ambition must be broad enough to include the needs of others, for their sakes and for our own,’” Biden said in the video, adding that America has no finer role model than Chavez, while displaying a bust of the labor activist positioned behind his desk in the Oval Office.
In a proclamation declaring March 31 as a federal commemorative holiday for him in 2014, former President Barack Obama called Chavez “one of America’s greatest champions for social justice.”
Twenty years earlier, Bill Clinton presented a posthumous Presidential Medial of Freedom to widow Helen Chavez, on behalf of her late husband’s work. In the citation accompanying America’s highest civilian honor, the President lauded Chavez for having “faced formidable, often violent opposition with dignity and nonviolence. And he was victorious. Cesar Chavez left our world better than he found it, and his legacy inspires us still.”
“He was for his own people a Moses figure,” Clinton said of the man who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later merged with the Larry Itliong-led Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to form the United Farm Workers of America labor union. “The farm workers who labored in the fields and yearned for respect and self-sufficiency pinned their hopes on this remarkable man who, with faith and discipline, soft spoken humility and amazing inner strength, led a very courageous life.”
The citation accompanying the award noted how Chavez was a farm worker from childhood who “possessed a deep, personal understanding of the plight of migrant workers, and he labored all his years to lift their lives.”
Below is a timeline of archival visuals chronicling Chavez achieving his life’s work:
https://www.siliconvalley.com/2023/03/31/cesar-chavez-photos-look-back-on-the-civil-rights-leaders-legacy/ Look back on the civil rights leader’s legacy