Pelosi Co-Sponsors Bill to Award Cesar Chávez Congressional Gold Medal

Mar 18, 2005
Press Release

Pelosi Co-Sponsors Bill to Award Cesar Chávez Congressional Gold Medal

Friday, March 18, 2005

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi announced today that she has co-sponsored a bill that would award legendary civil rights leader Cesar E. Chávez posthumously with the Congressional Gold Medal. Leader Pelosi joined Congressman Joe Baca (D-CA), the original sponsor, and 87 other Members of Congress to support this bill in honor of Mr. Chávez and his achievements for equal rights. The Congressional Gold Medal has never been awarded to a Hispanic American.

?Cesar Chávez was one of America's greatest advocates for justice and equality, and a model of service to others,? Pelosi said. ?I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of legislation that would award Cesar Chávez a Congressional Gold Medal for his distinguished service to our nation. With this honor, Congress would recognize his special significance in American history and honor his commitment to social justice.?

?I saw firsthand Cesar Chávez' tireless commitment to improving the lives of America's farm workers,? Pelosi said. ?In Congress, we must continue his struggle to ensure that everyone has access to quality health care and every child receives the best possible education. Working together, we can give everyone in this nation, whether they have been here for generations or just arrived to our country, the opportunity to realize the American dream.?

?Cesar Chavez is an inspiration to Hispanics in America,? Congressman Joe Baca (D-CA), who has also proposed legislation to make Cesar Chávez? birthday a national holiday, said. ?He is a true hero of American civil rights. He fought to ensure better conditions for farm workers and brought national attention to the labor movement. His work opened up opportunities for Hispanics throughout the nation. It is time that Congress recognized Cesar Chavez for his role in shaping American history. It is long overdue for Congress to honor an Hispanic American with the Congressional Gold Medal, and it is time for Congress to acknowledge the critical contributions of Cesar Chávez to America.?

Cesar E. Chávez led the struggle of migrant labor in California, and founded the United Farm Workers of America (UFW). His efforts succeeded in achieving fair wages, pension benefits, and medical coverage for hundreds of thousands of working families. He also demonstrated his love for his country by serving during World War II. Due to his hard work and dedication he became a beacon of hope for millions of migrant workers and civil rights advocates across the nation. Instilling the principals of non-violence practiced by Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to the UFW, Cesar Chávez was able to forge a national support coalition of unions, church groups, student minorities, and consumers, gaining support for civil rights for migrant workers throughout the nation.

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