CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez Day is observed in the United States on March 31 each year. It celebrates the birthday of CÃ©sar Estrada ChÃ¡vez and it serves as a tribute to his commitment to social justice and respect for human dignity.
What Do People Do?
CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez Day celebrations are held in many parts of the United States. It is a state holiday in California and an optional holiday in states such as Colorado and Texas but its celebrations go beyond these three states. Other states where celebrations and various activities occur in honor of CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez include Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska and New Mexico.
Key community leaders use this event to speak to the public about values that CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez showed in his lifetime and how they made a positive impact on society. Discussions, debates and media attention may focus on issues that he was actively involved with. These issues are relevant to Americans today and center on workerâ€™s rights, fair wages, pension benefits, and medical coverage.
Many schools have classroom activities that focus on CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vezâ€™s achievements, writings and speeches on or close to CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez Day. Community and business breakfasts or luncheons are also held to honor CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vezâ€™s achievements and incite hope within American communities.
CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez Day is a state holiday in California so government offices, educational institutions and many businesses are closed. State government offices in Colorado may grant requests for CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez Day in lieu of another holiday in the same fiscal year. However, government offices must be open. CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez Day is an optional state holiday in Texas.
ChÃ¡vez was born on March 31 in 1927. He was a migrant farm worker from the age of 10. He became active with the Community Service Organization, which helped fight racial and economic discrimination against Chicano residents.
ChÃ¡vez co-founded the National Farm Workers Association in the early 1960s. He focused attention on the plight of migrant farm workers and gained support to have his organization be the first successful farm workersâ€™ union in the United States. He used principles of non-violence, with strikes and boycotts. CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez remained president of United Farm Workers of America (AFL-CIO) until his death on April 23, 1993.
Funding for CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez Day was temporarily suspended in California around 2004 due to problems with the budget in the state. The courts were divided about the holiday in 2005, where some legal staff workers attended work but the doors to court rooms and filing offices were locked. Current efforts are made to push for CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez Day to become a national holiday in the United States.
Many schools, community centers and parks are named after CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez in the United States. For example, there is the CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez Elementary School in San Francisco. There is also a portrait of CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, as well as a statue of him at the University of Texas in Austin. CÃ©sar ChÃ¡vez is listed in the California Hall of Fame and references have been made about him in songs by well-known musicians. He was also honored with a commemorative postage stamp that the United States Postal Service issued in 2003.