Throughout the month of March, communities across the country have commemorated the life and legacy of civil rights leader Cesar E. Chavez' work through education, celebration, and service projects.
The day of service, recognized around Chavez' birth date of March 31, is a legal holiday in the state of California and an optional holiday in several other cities and states. Community groups, schools, and other organizations use the event to reflect on Chavez' life and carry out service projects in his honor.
“Cesar Chavez sought to improve the lives of our most vulnerable citizens, and service to others is a great way to honor his legacy,” said Robert Velasco, II, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “On this day and throughout the year, volunteers can have a powerful impact on critical challenges facing our communities and nation.”Service and education events taking place to commemorate Cesar Chavez include:
A first-generation American, Cesar Chavez was born on March 31, 1927, just outside of Yuma, Arizona. The Chavez family became migrant farmworkers traveling throughout California to harvest crops after the family lost their farm during the Great Depression. A Navy veteran, Cesar eventually settled with his family in East San Jose, CA, where he first began working with migrant farm workers. Having experienced the hardships of life as a farm worker firsthand, Chavez worked tirelessly to improve the lives of farmworkers and Latino families. He passed away in his sleep, at the age of 66, on April 23, 1993. "We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community...Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own,” Chavez said.