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Kaptur and Kucinich co-sponsor bill honoring César Estrada Chávez

Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH-10), along with 87 other congresspersons, have co-sponsored a bill that would award legendary civil rights leader César E. Chávez (1927-1993) posthumously with the Congressional Gold Medal, in honor of his 78th birthday, March 31. 

The Congressional Gold Medal has never been awarded to a Latino-American. The bill was introduced by Congressman Joe Baca (D-CA-43).

“César Chávez was one of U.S.-America’s greatest advocates for justice and equality, and a model of service to others,” Congresswoman Kaptur said. “I am honored to be an original co-sponsor of legislation that would award César Chávez a Congressional Gold Medal for his distinguished service to our nation.  With this honor, Congress would recognize his special significance in U.S.-American history and honor his commitment to social justice”

César E. Chávez led the struggle of migrant labor in California , and founded the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).  His efforts succeeded in achieving fair wages, pension benefits, and medical coverage for hundreds of thousands of working families.  He also demonstrated his love for his country by serving during World War II. 

“We should reflect on the commitment to social justice exemplified by such leaders and resolve to fulfill the dream of “si se puede” of eradicating poverty and injustice and ensuring that all Hispanic Americans enjoy a full stake hold in American society,” continued Kaptur.

Due to his hard work and dedication Chávez became a beacon of hope for millions of migrant workers and civil rights advocates across the nation.  Instilling the principals of non-violence, Chávez was able to forge a national support coalition of unions, church groups, student minorities, and consumers, gaining support for civil rights for migrant workers throughout the nation.

To pass, the bill must be co-sponsored by two-thirds of both the House and Senate. The majority of both houses must approve the legislation and then it must be signed by the president. So far, Baca has secured 115 co-sponsors.

The Congressional Gold Medal is awarded by Congress as its highest honor to those who have made monumental contributions to society. Prior recipients have ranged from entertainers such as Bob Hope to religious icons such as Mother Theresa of Calcutta . To date, approximately 300 people have been awarded the honor.

Kaptur also supports legislation that would establish an un-paid legal holiday in honor of Chávez and require schools to teach about his life, work and the farm workers movement.

Editor’s Note: HR 1365 is one of numerous bills/resolutions before U.S. Congress, including: H. Res. 127 (Establishing legal holiday in honor of Chávez); HJ Res. 12 (Commemorating the spirit of Chávez, “Si Se Puede”); HR 535 (Designating San Diego CA postal service as César E. Chávez Post Office); and S 670 (Authorizing Sec. of Interior to study sites associated with Chávez).






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