Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez Foundation

People from all over the country are celebrating the life of Cesar Chavez today. He would have turned 88. Now as FM89’s Diana Aguilera explains, some are also using the late labor leader’s birthday to bring back a movement to make Chavez a Catholic saint.

Supporters of the civil rights activist say the canonization of Cesar Chavez is not a far-fetched idea. This past weekend at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in San Jose, where Chavez once lived, Father Jon Pedigo renewed the call for sainthood. He says Chavez performed miracles of social change worthy of a saint.

Charismatic,  controversial, courageous and complicated. Those are just a few words that could sum up the life of the late civil rights leader and farm labor activist Cesar Chavez. Now over 20 years after his death, a new biography seeks to provide fresh insight into a man who is an inspiration for millions. The book is called “The Crusades of Cesar Chavez” by Miriam Pawel, who joined us on Valley Edition to talk about Chavez the man and Chavez the myth. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we discuss how the rural westside town of Mendota is prepping for the worst when it comes to the drought, talk with the author of the new book The Crusades of Cesar Chavez, explore a 2o year old street naming controversy in Fresno revolving around Cesar Chavez and discuss the Future Farmers of America’s fight to keep funding.

Cesar Chavez Foundation

In October 1993, the Fresno City Council voted to rename three city streets - Kings Canyon, Ventura and California - in honor of the late farm labor activist Cesar Chavez. The move was part of a campaign by local Latino groups who sought to honor the UFW founder, who had died earlier that year. 

Lionsgate / Pantelion Films

Later this month, the story of the late farm labor leader Cesar Chavez hits the silver screen with a biopic by acclaimed director Diego Luna. It’s the first time a major motion picture has been made about the life of the founder of the United Farm Workers Union. It features a cast of Hollywood stars including America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson and John Malkovich, with Michael Pena cast as the late civil rights hero. Tomorrow night President Obama will host a screening of the movie at the White House.

White House Pool Video

President Obama made his first visit to Central California today, as he dedicated the Cesar Chavez National Monument in the Tehachapi mountain community of Keene. The site served as headquarters for Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union for decades. 

The President told a crowd of over 6,000 people that Chavez was a hero for all Americans in his fight for justice, and the site, called Nuestra Senora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace) or La Paz, is a tribute to his legacy.

Valley Public Radio

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National Parks Service

President Obama announced today that he will visit Kern County next Monday to declare the headquarters of the late United Farm Workers union co-founder César Chávez a national monument. The Chávez compound in the small community of Keene, located in the Tehachapi hills east of Bakersfield served as the home for both the UFW and Chávez for several decades.