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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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Ybarra Village, An Affordable Housing Development Near Completion, Set to Achieve LEED for Homes Gold Certification

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Ybarra Village, a joint effort by the Cesar Chavez Foundation and New Directions for Veterans (NDVets), is a new affordable housing community development in the West Adams district of Los Angeles. Set to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification, the residential community will feature 64 units as well as on-site social service programs for veterans provided by NDVets. Thirty six units will be reserved for homeless veterans, some with special needs, and 27 will be designated for seniors with a preference for senior veterans.

“The LEED Gold Certification reinforces our commitment to inspiring and transforming communities in a way that promotes sustainability,” said Alfredo Izmajtovich, Executive Vice President of Housing and Economic Development for the Cesar Chavez Foundation. “We are proud to work with New Directions for Veterans in building sustainable and affordable living spaces for veterans in need of housing. We are setting the bar for what can be achieved both individually and community wide.”

Ybarra Village will provide a number of sustainable building methods in order to promote sustainability as well as result in lower utility bills for residents.  Water efficiency will be observed in the properties’ planned landscaping which will include an efficient irrigation system for a variety of drought tolerant plants and tree species that require low water and low maintenance needs, in addition to a shut-off valve, sub-metering for the irrigation system, drip irrigation for 50% of planning beds, timer or controller for each water area, pressure-regulating devices and moisture sensor or rain delay controllers.  In the interior units, water conservation will be achieved by the installation of efficient plumbing fixtures including low flow toilets, shower heads and faucets in both kitchens and bathrooms.  Additionally, all kitchens will have Energy Star dishwashing machines that will use less than 6.0 gallons per cycle.

Energy efficiency will be observed by a number of practices including the use of a high efficiency HVAC system, light fixtures and the use of rooftop solar water photovoltaic panels which will produce solar thermal panels which will pre-heat water for the domestic hot water system.  Energy efficient washing and drying machines will be installed in the laundry rooms.  The units which also include energy efficiency appliances including refrigerators, dishwashers and stoves.

There are a number of areas designated for residents’ use including two ample outdoor courtyards with tables and benches and a barbeque grill for group gatherings or individual use to encourage residents to spend time outdoors.  Additionally, the property includes a large community room, leasing office and office spaces for case management and resident services staff.   Ybarra Village will provide 53 parking spaces for resident use and service staff and a number of electric vehicle “EV- ready” chargers as well as 64 resident bicycle parking racks.

The property’s location is centrally located in the West Adams district of Los Angeles.  The amenity-rich neighborhood is within walking distance of grocery stores, shops, restaurants, schools and public transportation including Metro Buses and the Expo Line.

New residents will receive basic operations and training including a one-hour walkthrough of all features within their units so they can learn about the new sustainable LEED building and the many environmental benefits of Ybarra Village.

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Cesar Chavez Foundation to break ground on high-quality affordable housing community in Austin, TX

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Cesar Chavez Foundation to break ground on high-quality affordable housing community in Austin named for the late Texas legislator Lena Guerrero

Foundation President Paul Chavez, Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk to speak at August 30 event

Austin, TX (August 27, 2019) – The Cesar Chavez Foundation (CCF) is holding a groundbreaking ceremony on August 30 at 10:00 a.m. for a new affordable housing community in Austin. Los Portales de Lena Guerrero, named for former community activist and railroad commissioner Lena Guerrero, will feature 97 units of affordable housing for families including four permanent supportive units for transitional-aged youth.

“We’re pleased to break ground on 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 will house a Si Se Puede Learning Center, CCF’s flagship afterschool program available to young residents. The property will feature 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 female Hispanic 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 Hispanic 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.