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Syndic Literary Journal


Cesar Chavez 1971

Photo by Jesus Manuel Mena Garza 1971


Cesar Chavez National Holiday Prediction

By LeRoy Chatfield


Today is Wednesday, July 17, 2019. I predict that before this same day in 2044, Cesar Chavez Day will be proclaimed a national holiday and take its place alongside that of Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

Cesar Chavez has been dead  for 26-years  and with every passing year his legacy continues to grow,  not only in California, but in 12 other states  and there is no end in sight. Already Chavez is the most memorialized and honored Californian than anyone else in the state’s 169-year history. This achievement is all the more remarkable because he was born into the grinding poverty of a migrant farmworker family who eked out a living harvesting the crops in the agricultural valleys of  California and was never in one place long enough to receive much formal education. Chavez told me he attended 28 elementary schools during his childhood. 

What makes me believe my prediction will be realized?  Consider this documentation of the Cesar Chavez memorials and awards received during the first 25-years after his death. Each memorial has been created through either local, state or federal bureaucracies, which of necessity required organizational meetings,  citizen petitions, public hearings, local media coverage and government authorizations. All totaled, tens of thousands of people were involved in developing and creating this 25-year legacy of Cesar Chavez. I predict this is not sum total of Chavez’s legacy, it is only the foundation  on which the march to achieving a national holiday will be realized.

Cesar Chavez Parks ~ CA 12    Other States5   [AZ-CO-NV-NY-WA]

Cesar Chavez Major Streets  ~  CA 6    Other States23   [AZ-ID-NM-MI-MN-MO-OR-TX-UT-WI]

Cesar Chavez Libraries  ~   CA 6     Other States2   [AZ-MI]

Cesar Chavez Schools K-12 ~ CA 27  Other States30 [AZ-CO-IL-MD-MN-MI-NM-OH-OK-OR-TX-DC-WI]

Cesar Chavez Post Secondary Schools CA7     Other States4    [AZ-CO-NY-OR]

Cesar Chavez Bronze StatuesTotal 10   [Sacramento; CSU-San Marcos; Fresno State; Riverside; Denver; UT-Austin; Phoenix; San Luis; Tucson;Milwaukee]

Cesar Chavez State Holiday Designations ~ Total 8    [CA-AZ-MI-NM-CO-TX-UT-WI]

Other Cesar Chavez Memorials Total 5   –  Community Centers  [CA-WI];  Bowling Alley [TX]; Apartment Complex [CA]; Community Name Change [TX}

Cesar Chavez Federal Memorials Total 3   [USNS Cesar Chavez ship launched 2012; USPS Memorial Stamp 2003; US Park Service: Cesar E. Chavez National Memorial 2012]

Cesar Chavez Awards  – Total 4

1973 – Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged

1974 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize

1992 – Pacem In Terris Award for “Achievements in Peace and Justice”

1994 – Presidential Medal of Freedom (Posthumously Awarded) by President Bill Clinton

2006 – Inducted into California Hall of Fame by  Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Total Cesar Chavez Memorials & Awards  – 153


Cesar Chavez Timeline

1927 – Birth of Cesar Chavez, Yuma AZ

1960 – Number of California Latino Elected Officials  –   < 12

1962 –  Cesar Chavez Organizes National Farm Workers Association later named: United Farm Workers of America AFL-CIO

1965 – 1970  – Delano Grape Strike & Grape Boycott

1966  –  300 Mile “March To Sacramento”

1968   –  Cesar Chavez  25-Day  “Fast for Nonviolence”

1972  –  Cesar Chavez  22-Day  “Fast for Arizona Farmworkers”

1975  –  50,000 Farmworkers Vote in California Sponsored Union Elections

1980 – 45,000 Farmworkers Protected by United Farm Worker Union Contracts

1988 –  Cesar Chavez  36-Day  “Fast For Life”

1993 – Death of Cesar Chavez, Yuma AZ / 40,000 Mourners Attend Delano Funeral

1994  –  Number of California Latino Elected Officials – 800+












Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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