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Supporting a National Holiday for Farm Worker Cesar E. Chavez

WHEREAS, Cesar E. Chavez, the founder and former President of the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO stood as one of the heroic figures of the 20th century who inspired millions in our nation into action for economic justice, civil rights and political empowerment; and

WHEREAS, Cesar E. Chavez led a historic "Si Se Puede" non-violent movement for farm workers' rights which included strikes, a five-year boycott of grapes which won the first labor contracts in the grape fields, personal fasts in protest of the use of dangerous pesticides by agribusiness, and historic legislation including the outlawing of the back-breaking short handle hoe in 1975, and the establishment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, the first law governing farm labor organizing in the continental United States; and

WHEREAS, the legacy of Cesar E. Chavez, like the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., serves to educate, inspire, and serve as a model for all Americans and the generations to come; and

WHEREAS, the successful campaign to make Cesar E. Chavez's birthday, March 31st, an official paid state holiday in California and a day of service and learning in their public schools, has launched a national movement calling on Congress to do the same with an official federal holiday for Cesar E. Chavez, which would be the first time in history that a labor leader and Latino would be honored in this way; and

WHEREAS, this movement has now won Cesar E. Chavez state holidays in Arizona, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Michigan and Utah in addition to California; and

WHEREAS, establishment of a national holiday for Cesar Chavez is in keeping with the mission of the NAACP to insure the political, education, social and economic equality of minority groups and citizens.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls on President George W. Bush and the United States Congress to establish an official paid federal holiday for Cesar E. Chavez on his birthday, March 31st, and establish a day of learning and service in our public schools; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP will officially join the National Coalition for a Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday and, in so doing, become an active partner alongside Latino, civil rights, interfaith, and other leaders, elected officials, celebrities, and organizations who are working together to insure that the legacy of Cesar E. Chavez is recognized and celebrated throughout our nation.