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San Diego Observes 50th Anniversary Of Chávez’s Grape Strike

San Diego Honors Cesar Chavez

Six weeks of celebrations honoring the life of César Chávez started Monday with a community breakfast commemorating the 1965 Delano Grape Strike.

Six weeks of celebrations honoring the life of César Chávez started Monday with a community breakfast commemorating the 1965 Delano Grape Strike.

Hundreds of people came together at the Wyndham San Diego Bayside hotel to remember one of the late labor leader's most famous fights.

Chávez died in 1993, and Tuesday would have been his 88th birthday. Monday's breakfast was hosted by the San Diego César E. Chávez Commemoration Committee.

Chávez’s grandson, Paul Chávez, credits his grandfather’s forward-looking nature with the longevity of the United Farm Workers Union.

Photo caption: United Farm Workers labor leader César Chávez speaks during a news conference...

Photo credit: Associated Press

United Farm Workers labor leader César Chávez speaks during a news conference on May 24, 1968. The location is not known.

“He had the vision to understand how collaboratively working together you have power, you have strength. And the base of that comes from organizing and collective bargaining,” Paul Chávez said. “He took that and introduced the civil rights movement. I think that what you’re seeing today are the results of his hard work.”

Paul Chávez said his grandfather’s fight continues today, drawing parallels between the 1965 Delano strike and the current farm workers' disputes in Baja.

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“Many of the issues are the same — being underpaid, being mistreated, sexual harassment of women in the workplace, the utilization of child labor,” Paul Chávez said.

United Farm Workers is working on the farm-worker conflict across the border too, he said.

“The UFW, my uncle Arturo Rodriguez whose president of the United Farm Workers, have taken an active role in reaching out, trying to organize and participate with what’s happening in Mexico,” Paul Chávez said. “They’re not issues that are new. And they're not issues that are just within California, or Mexico, or China, or Eastern Europe, or African Nations.”

Paul Chávez said his grandfather, who staged the Delano protest 50 years ago, believed the fight for workers rights is a global issue.

For a calendar of events, go to ucsd.edu.

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