Cesar Chavez’s former home in Keene, California is now a national monument, as declared by President Obama during his visit there this month (Oct. 8).
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Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz, known as “La Paz,” has been the heart of the United Farmworkers’ Union (UFW) for decades.
Several SEIU Local 521 members joined the crowd of thousands, chanting “Si se Puede” and “Four more years” as the president spoke from the podium.
In dedicating the monument, President Obama said, “[Chávez] believed that when a worker is treated fairly and humanely by their employer that adds meaning to the values this country was founded upon, and credence to the claim that out of many, we are one. And he believed that when a child anywhere in America can dream beyond her circumstances and work to realize that dream, it makes all our futures just a little bit brighter.”
He continued, “Every time somebody’s son or daughter comes and learns about the history of this movement, I want them to know that our journey is never hopeless, our work is never done. I want them to learn about a small man guided by enormous faith — in a righteous cause, a loving God, the dignity of every human being. I want them to remember that true courage is revealed when the night is darkest and the resistance is strongest and we somehow find it within ourselves to stand up for what we believe in.”
The property and grounds have been donated to the National Park Service which will manage it along with the National Chávez Center. The monument includes the Chávez home, a visitors’ center, and a memorial garden where César Chávez is buried.
“It was very exciting to attend this dedication with so many other individuals who are committed to honoring [Chávez’] legacy, and continuing the fight for workers’ rights,” said Regina Kane, SEIU 521 Kern Chapter President.
The César E. Chávez National Monument is located at 29700 Woodford-Tehachapi Road in Keene, California, just off Highway 58 between Bakersfield and Tehachapi. The site is open every day from 10am to 4pm. For more information, visit the César E. Chávez National Monument website at www.nps.gov/cech.