Today we celebrate Mexican-American civil rights leader, Cesar Estrada Chavez, a former migrant worker who co-founded the UFW (United Farm Workers) with fellow activist, Dolores Huerta, which fought for unionization for laborers. Chavez, influenced by the non-violent tactics of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., used strikes, boycotts, and picketing to achieve equity for these laborers. For his good works and support of the working class, Chavez was awarded the presidential medal of freedom, posthumously, in 1994.
Of course, Portland has a street named after Señor Chavez, but not just because of his role as a civil rights leader. Oregon has a very storied relationship with Cesar Chavez, and was home to the first Chicano college, Colegio Cesar Chavez, which was founded in Mount Angel, Oregon in 1973.
As we celebrate this people’s movement as a day of service, we also meditate on the enduring tenacity and activism of historically marginalized groups, and acknowledgement of our privilege.
The print chosen today to represent Chavez’s contribution to workers’ rights is by Diego Rivera and is titled, “Los Frutos del Trabajo” (The Fruits of Labor), from 1932.
—Sofia Gonzales, docent
Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886–1957), Los Frutos del Trabajo (The Fruits of Labor), 1932. Lithograph on cream wove paper. Gift of Lucienne Bloch and Stephen Dimitroff, 83.53.8 © artist or other rights holder