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Cesar Chavez National Holiday

WHEREAS, Cesar Chavez championed the rights of people of color to earn, live and work with dignity and fairness; and

WHEREAS, Cesar Chavez acknowledged Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as one of his role models for non-violent social change; and

WHEREAS, former Senator and current President of the United States Barack Obama's statement for a Cesar Chavez national holiday: "Chavez left a legacy as an educator, environmentalist, and a civil rights leader. And his cause lives on as farm workers and laborers across America continue to struggle for fair treatment and fair wages. We find strength in what Cesar Chavez accomplished so many years ago. And we should honor him for what he's taught us about making America a stronger, more just and more prosperous nation. That's why I support the call to make Cesar Chavez's birthday a national holiday. It's time to recognize the contributions of this American icon to the ongoing efforts to perfect our union." Senator Barack Obama March 31, 2008; and

WHEREAS, Cesar Chavez's birthday, March 31st is celebrated in California as a state holiday, intended to promote service to the community in honor of Chavez's life and work. March 31, 2011 marked the eighth annual Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning, a California state holiday in remembrance of Cesar Chavez, Founder of the United Farm Workers Union and pioneer in the struggle for fair wages and humane working conditions for farm workers and their families. Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning is a moving reminder of the relevance of Cesar's legacy and testament to his leadership. In the spirit of service learning, millions of Californians from urban and rural communities came together to honor his life and work; and

WHEREAS, San Diego shipyard announcement of the Navy's newest cargo ship: USNS Cesar Chavez. Cesar Chavez will be designated as a United States Naval Ship (USNS) and operated by the Navy's Military Sealift Command. TAKE 14 is designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea and can carry two helicopters and their crews. The ship is BBS feet inlength, has a waterline beam of 105.S feet, displaces approximately 41 ,000 tons, and is capable of reaching a speed of 20 knots. "Cesar E. Chavez inspired young Americans to do what is right and what is necessary to protect our freedoms and our country"; and

WHEREAS, Cesar Chavez's birthday is recognized by many state government offices, community colleges, and libraries are closed. Ten states have established Cesar Chavez Days (Arizona, Texas, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Rhode Island); and

WHEREAS, organizations and labor unions in u:s. cities have already agreed to hold Cesar Chavez national holiday events on or near the date of Cesar's birthday March 31, including in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Antonio, Houston, Tucson, Portland, Omaha, Providence, Reno, Grand Rapids, Lubbock and yes, Charleston, South Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia; and

WHEREAS, Cesar E. Chavez is one of the most important leaders of the 20th Century. His legacy of workers' rights, civil rights, environmental justice, equality for all, peace, non-violence, children and women's rights, deserves national recognition. He inspired millions of people across the country of all races and nationalities to engage in social and economic justice for farm workers. His life work to empower the poor and disenfranchised is a model for all.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP urges that March 31st be fully adopted as a legal National holiday devoted to service to the community in honor of Chavez's life and work; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP call on the United States Congress to establish a federal paid holiday in honor of Cesar E. Chavez, on his birthday, March 31st. This holiday should include a Cesar E. Chavez day of service, learning and community action; and

BE IT FINALLV RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms its 2005 policy to join the National Coalition for a Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday.

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