A Day for Cesar Chavez

March 31 is Cesar Chavez Day in Arizona, California, and Texas (and maybe in the rest of the country soon). The holiday recognizes the life and work of a man who was born in Yuma, Arizona and started work as a migrant farm worker. Chavez realized that farm workers had few to no rights and were not treated fairly by their employers. This first had experience led him to become a labor organizer, and to work for better labor conditions. Through strikes and boycotts, Chavez and his collaborator brought the idea of civil rights  for Mexican-Americans to a broader audience. With Chavez as a figurehead, the United Farm Workers and the Chicano Movement were able to raise awareness of their cause throughout the United States.

At Xico it’s easy to remember Cesar Chavez because he a symbol for many Latino artists  and honored in their artwork. Chavez actually worked with artists as part of his campaigns with the United Farm Workers. The Royal Chicano Airforce (RCAF) was an artist’s collective based in Sacremento, California in the 1970’s. They used their art to raise awareness of Chicano issues, including designing advertisements for the United Farm Workers. Cesar Chavez certainly knew the value of publicity and he knew that art could be a powerful medium for spreading his message. It is because of that message and the increased awareness that Chavez brought about that we honor him today.