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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 29, 1993




Cesar Chavez came from the humble yet proud beginnings of a migrant worker to lead those same workers in a movement that irreversibly shaped our Nation and brought justice and dignity to thousands. After the Depression forced young Cesar and his family from their ranch, he began working in the fields at an early age. His family traveled throughout California following the seasonal work, and he attended nearly 70 schools before dropping out to help support his family. Although his formal education ended after the seventh grade, Cesar learned much from the courageous example of his parents. Often among the first to resist exploitation and to stand up to injustice, they instilled in Cesar a profound respect for the intrinsic value of each human person, and a fervent desire to protect that value. Inspired by the teachings of a Catholic priest and by the writings of Ghandi and other great civil leaders, Cesar rose to become one of the great labor leaders of our time.

The United Farm Workers, the union he founded and led for almost three decades, became a symbol of empowerment and pride for many workers. Cesar's innate understanding of the problems facing migrant workers allowed him to organize thousands of farm workers across the Nation. With natural leadership and unflagging determination, he achieved real progress where others had failed.

His insistence on nonviolent tactics stood in stark contrast to the bitterness and brutality that were used in resistance. The strength of his vision and the power of his leadership enabled him to take his struggle directly to the American people. He focused our Nation's attention on the economic and social plight of migrant farm workers and, in the process, taught us how injustice anywhere affects us everywhere.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, in tribute to the memory of Cesar Chavez, do hereby call upon the citizens of this great Nation to reflect on and honor the life of this distinguished leader, veteran, and American.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth.


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