Eighty-eight years ago, on March 31, 1927, Cesar Chavez was born near his family farm in Yuma, Ariz. While he was still young, his family lost their farm in the Great Depression and became migrants following agricultural work around the Southwest. During his formative years, Chavez was exposed to the dismal working conditions that migrant workers were forced to endure.
In 1962, after working for many years as a community organizer, he founded the organization that later became the United Farm Workers of America (UFW). As leader of the UFW, Chavez organized agricultural laborers to protest and demand improvements in their working and living conditions. the UFW motto of Si se puede! or "Yes, we can!" continues to resound as a timeless rallying cry to workers for social justice.
Cesar Chavez and the UFW played an instrumental role in the passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 1975. This legalization made California the first state in the nation to give farmworkers the right to seek union representation and bargain collectively within an established legal framework.
Cesar Chavez died in 1993 but his legacy of ensuring all workers are treated with dignity, fairness, and respect continues.