LOS ANGELES, March 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Los Angeles, California and national civil rights leaders came together in the City of Angels on Monday to commemorate one of the most iconic events in the history of the Latino civil and labor rights movement, hosted by the Cesar Chavez Foundation and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.
The event – honoring the late Cesar Chavez, one of the most iconic Latino civil rights leaders in U.S. history, and the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, a champion of civil rights and the poor who fervently embraced Chavez's nonviolent cause – was held at Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools on the former site of the Ambassador Hotel where Kennedy was assassinated and that now serves primarily low-income, immigrant children.
March 10 is the 50th anniversary of the end of Chavez's 25-day, water-only fast that threatened his life. On its final day in Delano, Calif., in 1968, he was joined by Senator Kennedy, who called Chavez "one of the heroic figures of our time." Today, Chavez's name is synonymous with the struggle for justice by American farm workers and dignity for the nation's poor. March 31 is Cesar Chavez Day (his birthday), celebrated as a state holiday in California and a number of other states.
Joining RFK Schools students participating in the program were Kerry Kennedy, RFK's daughter and president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, an international human rights organization; Paul F. Chavez, Cesar's son and president of the Cesar Chavez Foundation; UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez, Chavez's successor; former labor leader Paul Schrade, who brought Robert Kennedy to Delano and was seriously wounded when RFK was killed; and farm labor and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, who was also with Senator Kennedy that night.
"They came from very different worlds, but Robert Kennedy and my father forged a close personal bond," says Paul Chavez, Chavez Foundation president. "They were about the same age, had large families, were devoutly Catholic and deeply committed to serving others, with an abiding faith in the basic goodness of the American people."
"There was no quality Robert Kennedy admired more than courage," recalls his daughter Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. "My mother [Ethel] says my father told her Cesar was the most moral man he knew."
Part of the presentation was a panel discussion about today's meaning in a shifting climate – moderated by L.A. School Board President Mónica García – with the "future generation" of the movement, including Julie Chavez Rodriguez, granddaughter of Cesar Chavez, current state director for Senator Kamala Harris and former top White House aide to President Obama; Georgia Kennedy-Bailey, granddaughter of RFK; and two students from RFK Schools who are immigrants, Wendy Garcia-Torres, originally from Central America, and Sumaiya Sabnam, originally from Bangladesh.
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SOURCE Cesar Chavez Foundation