Video: Obama’s Address at Cesar Chavez National Monument

“At its fundamental level,” writes Frederick John Dalton in The Moral Vision of Cesar Chavez, “the farm-worker struggle Cesar Chavez led is the struggle of the poor to be recognized as human beings. Cesar Chavez and La Causa bear witeness to the morally perverse situation of oppression in the name of freedom, exploitation in the name of competition, suffering in the name of efficiency, and impoverishment in the name of private property.”

Watch President Obama’s address to the overflow crowd at the newly appointed Cesar Chavez National Monument:

Below is an excerpt from Obama Dedicates Cesar Chavez National Monument by Michael A. Memoli:

KEENE, Calif. – President Obama’s stop in this remote and sparsely populated San Joaquin Valley town was about as far off the campaign trail as a candidate could be so close to an election. But his message as he dedicated the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument was not without political significance, as he honored the legacy of a civil rights and labor leader whose “si se puede” credo was an inspiration for his own historic campaign four years ago.

Speaking on the 187-acre property that served as both home and operational headquarters for Chavez and his United Farm Workers movement, Obama said Chavez’s tenacity on behalf of a new generation of workers was part of “the story of who we are as Americans,” meriting such a tribute alongside other national monuments like the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon.

“It’s a story of natural wonders and modern marvels, of fierce battles and quiet progress. But it’s also a story of people, of determined, fearless, hopeful people who have always been willing to devote their lives to making this country a little more just and a little more free,” Obama said.

Leslie Fields: Obama Honors Cesar Chavez

Obama-at-Chavez-dedication
Official White House photo by Pete Souza

By Leslie Fields, Sierra Club

On October 8, on a gorgeous early autumn day in the oak-dappled foothills of California’s Tehachapi Mountains, President Obama formally designated the César E. Chávez National Monument. The designation is the fourth of Obama’s presidency, but the first-ever national monument dedicated to a Latino.

Below, the president with Helen Chávez at her late husband’s gravesite at Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace), or La Paz, in the town of Keene, California, site of the new national monument.

Obama-with-Helen-Chavez
Official White House photo by Pete Souza

“César Chávez was a true labor and environmental champion whose work helped result in the passage of landmark laws that protect our air, water, land, and—most important—people,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune. “His work helped link people’s health and the environment, and his fight for environmental justice is one that the Sierra Club remains committed to today.” …

Read the rest of  Monument to a National Treasure by Leslie Fields.