National Parks Service looks to protect places of Cesar Chavez

March 30, 2012

Tomorrow marks the 85th birthday of former farm labor leader Cesar Chavez. During the 60s and 70s Chavez fought to improve working conditions for farm workers. Now the National Parks Service plans to recognize his legacy. KJZZ's AL Macias reports.

Cesar Chavez was born in Yuma. He and his family were migrant farm workers. In 1965 he joined a farm workers strike in California, and that eventually led to the formation of the United Farm Workers labor organization. He supported non-violent protests to focus attention on the dangers farm workers faced, including exposure to hazardous pesticides and poor living conditions.

In 1972 he went on a 24-day fast to challenge Arizona legislation that barred farm workers from organizing boycotts and strikes

In 1994 President Bill Clinton posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Cesar Chavez, recognizing his efforts on behalf of migrant farm workers.

In 2008, Congress approved a recommendation from the Interior Department to identify and protect sites linked to Chavez and the farm worker movement.

Now the National Parks Service has identified five sites including the Santa Rita site in Phoenix, the location of his 24-day fast. 

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