The United States commemorates the second annual Cesar Chavez Day Tuesday, marking the life of one of the country's most iconic labor leaders.
Hundreds of people rallied in a handful of cities over the weekend to mark Chavez's legacy ahead of the national day. In Denver, a bronze statue of Chavez was unveiled Saturday in recognition of the late union leader. Located in Denver’s Cesar Chavez Park, the statue was inaugurated by Mayor Michael Hancock and the Cesar Chavez Peace and Justice Committee.
More commemorations are set to take place throughout Tuesday.
Cesar Chavez Day was proclaimed a national commemorative holiday in 2014 by President Barack Obama.
“I encourage Americans to make this a national day of service and education by speaking out, organizing, and participating in service projects to improve lives in their communities,” Obama stated in a proclamation in March 2014. “Let us remember that when we lift each other up, when we speak with one voice, we have the power to build a better world.”
Born on March 31, 1927, Chavez co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (later renamed the United Farm Workers, or UFW) in 1962. At its height, the UFW boasted more than 50,000 members — mostly low income Latino agricultural workers. Under Chavez, the UFW advocated for improved work conditions for agricultural laborers, including fighting against the exposure of workers to harmful pesticides.
Although the UFW waned in the 1980s, since Chavez died in 1993 he has been widely recognized as a symbol of the 20th century labor movement.