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Cesar Chavez family invited to join Mexican president celebrating ‘El Grito’ at National Palace before a big crowd on giant Zócalo Plaza

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Cesar Chavez family invited to join Mexican president celebrating ‘El Grito’ at National Palace before a big crowd on giant Zócalo Plaza

Mexico City (September 12, 2022) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has invited the family of U.S. civil rights and farm labor leader Cesar Chavez to join him in proclaiming “El Grito”—The Cry of Dolores—celebrating Mexican independence on Thursday evening, Sept. 15 from the National Palace before a large crowd assembled in the giant Zócalo or Plaza de la Constitución.

Five of Chavez’s eight children—Sylvia Delgado, Eloise Carrillo, Paul Chavez, Elizabeth Villarino, and Anthony Chavez—will join the Mexican president and a distinguished group of current and former heads of state and other international figures for the annual historical commemoration akin to America’s 4th of July. Also present will be grandson Andres Chavez, executive director of the National Chavez Center, which preserves and promotes his grandfather’s legacy.

The invitation is part of a long relationship of cooperation between the farm worker movement and the government and people of Mexico. Cesar Chavez was awarded the Aguila Azteca (the Aztec Eagle), Mexico’s highest honor for people of Mexican heritage. The farm worker movement worked with the Mexican administration to cover U.S. farm workers in Mexico under the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, the Mexican healthcare system.

Paul Chavez, president of the Cesar Chavez Foundation, issued the following statement from the National Chavez Center in the Tehachapi Mountain town of Keene, Calif., where his father lived and labored his last quarter century, and where he and his wife Helen are buried. It also hosts the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, administered in partnership between the National Park Service and the National Chavez Center.

The Chavez family and farm worker movement express our gratitude to President Lopez Obrador and the government and people of Mexico for including us in this annual historical observation. We are proud of our ancestry and honored to participate in the president’s proclamation of El Grito that inspires people from both sides of the border.

Mexican Independence Day, Sept. 16, also marks the anniversary of when Cesar Chavez’s mostly Latino union joined Filipino workers by striking Delano, Calif.-area table and wine grape growers in 1965. That sparked a five-year-long landmark grape strike and a three-year-long international grape boycott.

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Grand Opening of Plaza Ortiz in El Monte

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Cesar Chavez Foundation announces grand opening of high-quality affordable housing community for homeless veterans & low-income residents in El Monte named for U.S. Army Cpl. ‘Mac’ Ortiz Jr. who died during Korean War in 1950 

El Monte, Calif. (June 29, 2022) – The Cesar Chavez Foundation (CCF) held a grand opening celebration on June 29 for a new affordable housing community for homeless veterans and low-income residents in El Monte. The property is named Plaza Ysabel “Mac” Ortiz, in honor of the 19-year-old El Monte native who was killed during the Korean War and whose remains were returned nearly 70 years after he was reported missing in action. The 53 units of housing for homeless veterans and low-income households features onsite social services provided in partnership with Step Up, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit delivering compassionate support to people experiencing serious mental health conditions, and persons who are experiencing chronic homelessness so they can recover, stabilize, and integrate into the community. The property also features a new mural by artist Ignacio Gomez honoring Ysabel “Mac” Ortiz and other community heroes.  

The project houses a Si Se Puede Learning Center, Chavez Foundation’s flagship afterschool program for young residents and 6,849 square feet of space for residential services, recreational meeting space, conference and meeting rooms, and staff office space as well as to provide services and resources for homeless veterans.  

Ysabel “Mac” Ortiz joined the U.S. Army at age 17. He was serving during the Korean War, assigned to an M-19, small anti-aircraft tank with an exposed cockpit in the 7th Infantry Division when he went missing while in combat in North Korea on Dec. 2, 1950. Barely past his 19th birthday, Cpl. Ortiz’s remains were never recovered. DNA testing confirmed he was among the remains of 55 U.S. service members turned over to the U.S. by North Korea almost 70 years later in 2019. He was brought home, buried in Riverside National Cemetery, and posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. 

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Grand Opening of Los Portales de Lena Guerrero in Austin

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Cesar Chavez Foundation announces grand opening of high-quality affordable housing community in Austin named for the late Texas legislator Lena Guerrero

Austin, TX (June 10, 2022) – The Cesar Chavez Foundation (CCF) held a grand opening celebration on June 10 for a new affordable housing community in Austin. Los Portales de Lena Guerrero, named for former community activist and railroad commissioner Lena Guerrero, features 97 units of affordable housing for families including four permanent supportive units for transitional-aged youth in partnership with Lifeworks, an Austin-based nonprofit dedicated to transitioning youth and families from crisis to safety and success.

“We’re pleased to open our our second affordable housing community in Austin to address the needs of Latinos and working families. It’s fitting to name this property after Lena Guerrero, a positive force in the community who fought tirelessly for farmworkers and the disenfranchised,” said Paul Chavez, President, Cesar Chavez Foundation. “She embodied the values of our organization’s founder, civil rights and farm labor leader Cesar Chavez.”

The community houses a Si Se Puede Learning Center, CCF’s flagship afterschool program available to young residents and features a picnic area, playground and multi-use community space as well as provide housing and resources for transitional-aged youth in the Austin area.

The property is named after Lena Guerrero, whose work championed the rights of farmworkers. She was the second Latina elected to the Texas Legislature where she was known as one of the state’s most effective lawmakers. In 1991, she became the first woman and first Latina to serve on the Railroad Commission of Texas where she led the effort to help independent oil and gas producers increase production in Texas at a time when the industry was struggling, and was a strong advocate for the use of alternative fuels.

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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.”