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Chavez Foundation and Unite Us announce new partnership

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Chavez Foundation and Unite Us partner to connect residents in affordable housing communities with local organizations that provide essential services.

Keene, CA (March 30, 2022) – The Cesar Chavez Foundation (CCF) is working with Unite Us, the nation’s leading technology company connecting health and social care services, to help residents in its affordable housing communities access local organizations that provide a wide range of critical services. This partnership with Unite Us will help CCF locate services for residents living in 30 of its housing communities across New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and California. 

CCF’s community services team will help families and senior citizens identify and access over 20 types of services – including food and housing assistance and health and wellness services – through the Unite Us Platform. Residents will receive secure electronic referrals within 48 hours of the initial request.

“By utilizing the Unite Us network, our staff will be able to easily develop relationships with community partners, enabling us to improve the lives of individuals living in our communities,” said Brianna Fimbres, Community Services Manager for CCF. “Our staff will be able to help residents get a range of services that will allow them to age-in-place with dignity, get back into the workforce, or find health care to maintain mental and physical stability.”

“Our national collaboration with The Cesar Chavez Foundation will benefit CCF residents across the country by connecting them to much-needed health and social care services within their communities,” said Adrienne Sherk, Senior Director, Community-Based Organization Partnerships, Unite Us. “Together, we will increase equitable access to care and services across the country and achieve our collective goal by providing their residents with the care they need, no matter where they live,” she added.  


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First Lady Dr. Jill Biden to visit the National Chavez Center

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First Lady Dr. Jill Biden honors Cesar Chavez at a naturalization ceremony where Chavez lived & labored his last quarter century UFW’s Teresa Romero receiving Outstanding Americans by Choice award

Keene, Calif.—First Lady Dr. Jill Biden honors Cesar Chavez three days before what would have been the civil rights and farm labor leader’s 95th birthday by helping swear in 31 immigrants from nine countries as new U.S. citizens during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ceremony where Chavez lived and labored his last quarter century. One of the new citizens is a UFW Foundation member from Bakersfield whose husband is a farm worker, Claudia Marcela Campos.

USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou will administer the Oath of Allegiance and present a national award to United Farm Workers President Teresa Romero, herself an immigrant and naturalized citizen, as an Outstanding American by Choice. Cesar Chavez Foundation President Paul F. Chavez will also deliver remarks.

It is the second year in a row the first lady is visiting a farm worker movement historical property on or around Chavez’s birthday. On March 31, 2021, she marked the occasion by participating in a mass farm worker vaccination clinic at the “Forty Acres” near Delano, the movement’s headquarters before Chavez moved it to Keene in 1971.

Also historically significant is the 187-acre Keene property in the Tehachapi Mountains east of Bakersfield in Kern County. Comprising three acres of it is the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, the 398th unit of the National Park Service administered in a partnership by the park service and the National Chavez Center, part of the Chavez foundation.

Thousands of farm workers and supporters flowed through what Chavez named La Paz over the decades to plan and do their daily work—from organizing and boycotting to contract bargaining, administration, and financial management. La Paz was where many of the most important UFW campaigns—from the early 1970s onward—were devised, planned, and often coordinated. It was also where Chavez built a community of fellow union members and volunteers who worked with him full time for social justice. It was where Chavez and his colleagues lived out the principles they cherished, including nonviolence, simplicity of lifestyle and service to others.

Monday’s naturalization ceremony is set in the 17,000 square foot Mission style structure now called Villa La Paz. It was where generations of farm worker leaders learned to run their own union by organizing, negotiating and administering union contracts, and resolving differences with growers.

UFW President Teresa Romero said, “I first came to this country in my 20s, seeking a better life for myself—like millions of immigrants before me, like many of you. My respect for the UFW and the farm workers—and my understanding of their struggles—hails from the fact that when I came to America, I did not speak or understand English. I appreciate what it is like to come to a new country, to be exposed to a new language, a new culture, a new people. I have come to be equally proud of my Mexican and Zapotecan heritage as wellas my U.S. citizenship.”

Chavez foundation President Paul Chavez observed, “My dad was the son and grandson of immigrants who in the late 1800s fled the servitude of the hacienda system in Mexico. They sought opportunities they knew they could never have in their native country, sharing the dream of all immigrants—then and now—to partake in the opportunities, benefits, and prosperity this nation offers. But my father was convinced American citizenship is about more than taking an oath and waving the American flag. Citizenship is about empowering yourself and your community through participation, becoming fully informed, registering to vote, voting, and becoming fully engaged in your community’s civic, political, and cultural affairs.”

UFW Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres said, “On this day, in this country of immigrants, we continue the proud tradition of welcoming new American citizens and congratulate everyone, including our own member, Claudia, on this achievement. Today we also thank First Lady Jill Biden for joining us in this fundamental practice to our democracy. We are emboldened by her dedication and commitment to the immigrant community and hope to work with her and the Biden administration to expand immigrant rights in the upcoming months and years.”

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“A Song for Cesar” premieres in theaters March 2022

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Unique Documentary About Cesar Chavez and the Musicians Who Supported the Farmworker Movement Premieres During Cesar Chavez Month

A Song for Cesar features Joan Baez, Maya Angelou, and Carlos Santana, and many more

A Song for Cesar, a unique documentary about Cesar Chavez and the musicians and artists who supported the movement to improve the lives of struggling farmworkers, premieres in theaters across the country in March. The documentary also explores other facets of Cesar’s life – from childhood to his final days – revelations that, until now, have not been shared on screen.

A Song for Cesar presents a previously untold story of the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez and the farmworker movement. Through interviews, performances, stunning archival footage and photographs, and a rich original soundtrack, the film features the musicians and artists – including Joan Baez, Maya Angelou, and Carlos Santana, among others – who dedicated their time, creativity, and even reputations to peacefully advance Cesar Chavez’s movement to gain equality and justice for America’s struggling farmworkers.

Filmmakers Abel Sanchez and Andres Alegria spent more than a decade producing the documentary which highlights the importance and effectiveness of peaceful protest to effect positive social change. The initial inspiration for the film was a song about Cesar Chavez written by Mr. Sanchez and Jorge Santana, the latter who sadly passed in 2020.

“While writing the song Song for Cesar, Jorge and I felt the inspiration of Cesar and the farmworkers enter our studio,” said Mr. Sanchez. “When we shared the song set to a short video with our friend Maya Angelou, she insisted we make a full documentary about how the farmworker movement was lifted by so many musicians and artists of the time, adding ‘this is not only your song, it is my song, it is everybody’s song!’ Of course, we could not resist Maya, and the documentary A Song for Cesar was born.”

For more information about the film and play dates, visit www.songforcesar.com.

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A Thanksgiving Message from Chavez Foundation President Paul F. Chavez

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Hello Friends,

We hope this message finds you safe and healthy as we move into the holiday season. As we reflect upon the challenges the past 20 months have brought to people around the world, we are in awe of the hard work and accomplishments that have taken place in the face of adversity. We are thankful for the essential workers in our lives who have worked tirelessly to keep our communities safe, fed, and moving forward. 
 
Many of the individuals whose contributions may seem overlooked are acknowledged and commended ever so intentionally in this season of thanksgiving. We honor the struggles and relentless, overarching perseverance that has been a source of hope and light during these unprecedented times. These stories continue to motivate and drive the work of the Cesar Chavez Foundation. For these individuals and their innumerable sacrifices, we are truly grateful.  
 
Thank you for your continued commitment to inspiring and transforming communities. 

Sincerely,

Paul F. Chavez, President
Cesar Chavez Foundation
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Riverside County Office of Education and Cesar Chavez Foundation Strengthens Students’ Literacy Skills and Social-Emotional Health

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Students from Coachella Valley and Palm Springs Unified School Districts, as well as the Riverside County Migrant Education Program participate in the Expanded Digital Learning Summer Program

RIVERSIDE – After almost 15 months of adapting to distance learning due to the pandemic, 500 Riverside County students are preparing to transition back to the classroom by focusing on literacy skills and their social-emotional health. Through a new partnership between the Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) and the Cesar Chavez Foundation, students will become better readers, and be emotionally prepared for the start of the 2021-22 school year.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the Cesar Chavez foundation on this powerful digital learning program that enhances literacy,” commented Dr. Edwin Gomez, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools. “One of my four initiatives is, Literacy by Fifth Grade, and I know we have students whose learning was deeply impacted by the pandemic. This program will help ensure students are better prepared for the start of the school year, through this engaging curriculum developed by the Cesar Chavez Foundation.”

The two-week program, designed by the Cesar Chavez Foundation is focused on helping 500 students become better readers by having access to personalized and adaptive reading digital instruction through i-Ready. In addition, the Expanded Digital Learning Summer Program takes a holistic approach to students’ growth by implementing social emotional strategies that align to Cesar Chavez’ core values such as, Si Se Puede! Culturally competent teachers teach these lessons using culturally relevant books and program supplies, that have also been provided to all students through a literacy backpack.

“Our work is anchored in Cesar Chavez’s deep belief that, ’You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride,’” said Dr. Celia Garcia Alvarado, Executive Vice President of Education for the Cesar Chavez Foundation. “Now more than ever, students living in working communities need culturally responsive programs that educate both their hearts and minds, and we are very grateful for the opportunity to pilot our program with the Riverside County of Education to support their Literacy by Fifth Grade Initiative.”

A smaller cohort session of 80 students began the program on June 16th, with the first session concluding on June 29th. In this initial group, students participated from across the county as far away as Palo Verde to Perris Elementary School District. Angelica Cazares, Director of Education for the Cesar Chavez Foundation said, “We have seen students engaged and enthusiastic with the program, due to the curriculum content being culturally relevant.” In addition, students and teachers have formed strong bonds resulting in a high attendance rate.

A second session of 420 students will participate from July 7th – 20th in the program. All students are attending the program free of charge. Students’ outcomes and reading data will be shared with participating districts at the conclusion of the program. With the success of the Expanded Digital Learning Summer Program, both organizations hope to continue and expand on these efforts to support literacy in Riverside County.

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The Riverside County Office of Education is a service agency supporting the county’s 23 school districts that serve 430,000 students—more than the student population of 17 states. RCOE services include administrative support to districts, programs for preschool, special education, pregnant minor, correctional, migrant, and vocational students. In addition, the organization provides professional training, support, and resources for more than 18,000 teachers, administrators, and staff throughout the 7,000 square miles of Riverside County.

The Cesar Chavez Foundation is a social enterprise that inspires and transforms communities by providing critical services that address the needs of Latinos and working families: it has built or renovated and manages more than 5,000 units of high-quality affordable housing with amenities including afterschool programs for children and senior services; operates an eight-station Spanish and English-language radio network with 1.5 million daily listeners; develops and provides culturally responsive, diverse products and services to students in under-resourced communities, and operates the National Chavez Center which preserves and promotes the legacy of Cesar Chavez.