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Governor’s Office Honors Cesar Chavez

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Chair of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board was Tuesday´s KVML Newsmaker with his weekly radio address. Here are his words:

“Hi, this is Guadalupe Almaraz, Chair of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, filling in for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with another California Report.

This week we celebrated the birthday of Cesar Chávez by honoring the life and legacy of a visionary who changed not just our state but our nation.

His birthday, March 31, is an official holiday in California and in seven other states, and a movement continues to make it a national holiday.

And in 2006, the Governor inducted Cesar Chávez into the California Hall of Fame at the California Museum, so we will never forget his amazing story.

Cesar Chávez was a farm worker from childhood, whose experience with injustice inspired him to co-found the organization we now know as the United Farm Workers.

An admirer of Gandhi, he used nonviolent means to create positive, dramatic change.

Along with Governor Schwarzenegger, I admired Cesar Chávez’s gentle but determined spirit.

He didn’t quit. He never stopped trying to find a way.

He didn’t look away as others suffered and he didn’t wait for someone else.

He sought dignity for all farm workers. He sought fair wages. Improved living and working conditions. Pension. Medical benefits.

He fought against child labor, high infant mortality rates and malnutrition.

And in 1975, his work led to the creation of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act.

It gave farm workers the right to unionize and paved the way for better working conditions and better treatment.

Cesar Chávez led by example, making effective use of fasting and boycotts.

His fight was for the invisible people, who help provide the bounty we all enjoy on our dinner tables.

And his mission lives on.

That’s why the Governor has worked to ensure that California’s farm workers are protected from heat stress and illness.

And that all those who work outdoors in agriculture, construction or any other business have adequate water, shade and training to work safely in the heat.

Cesar Chávez’s dream continues.

From the time he went to work in the fields as a child, he dreamed of a better future for himself and for so many others. And his dreams became his legacy.

In 1984, he said that dream “grew from my own experience with racism, with hope, with the desire to be treated fairly and to see my people treated as human beings and not as chattel.”

Before his death in 1993, he saw such amazing change.

He celebrated Latinos moving into professional ranks, becoming politicians and hastening the change he dreamed of.

He said, “The day will come when the politicians do the right thing by our people out of political necessity and not out of charity of idealism.”

We honor Cesar Chávez, for his courage, his inspiration and for bringing us closer to that day.

On behalf of the Governor, this is Guadalupe Almaraz.

Thank you for listening.”

The Newsmaker of the Day can be heard each weekday morning at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47 on AM-1450 KVML.

Written by mark@mlode.com