Cesar Chavez & his accomplishments


Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Cesar Chavez is well known for his work in advocating for farmers working in the grape fields.

LunaBella Peralta, Events editor

As a prominent Civil Rights and Labor activist of the 1960s and 70s, Cesar Chavez is a highly recognizable figure in history. However, despite his influential work within the agricultural community his achievements are unknown by the majority.

Having been born into a farm laborer family, Chavez was exposed to the many struggles of the community at a young age. During the Great Depression, he and his family migrated to California where they continued to work in agriculture. After serving two years in the US Navy Chavez returned to farmwork and slowly started his journey into becoming a prominent civil rights leader (Cesar Chavez).

He was first introduced to the Community Services Organization (CSO) in 1952 where he participated by fighting Latino discrimination and taking the position as organization national director (The Story of Cesar Chavez). In 1962, Chavez resigned and formed the National Farm Workers Association to focus on the labor worker struggles Chavez had faced and was familiar with.

Being inspired by the prior movements of Dr. King and Gandhi, Chavez launched his first strike against the California grape growers. The strike lasted five years and its influence spread throughout the state as Chavez was supported by other labor groups such as the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC). In 1966, these two organizations would come to form the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee. In addition, the strike also included a 340 mile march from Delano to Sacramento further grabbing attention nationwide (Caesar Chavez).

The movement came to an end as major grape growers agreed to raise workers’ pay and allow the formation of worker unions. However, this was not the end for Chavez as he continued to lead under the United Farm Workers Committee and represent labor workers in California and Arizona. This continuation of strikes and movements resulted in the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act which allowed all farm workers the right to unionize (Caesar Chavez). .

After Chavez’s death in 1993, President Bill Clinton posthumously awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, acknowledging his leadership and organization as a civil rights activist. To this day Caesar Chavez has remained an influential leader for all workers as he paved the way for a brighter future.