Skip to main content

Cesar Chavez: home

Cesar E. Chavez (1927-1993)

Activist for Social Justice Civil Rights Leader Humanitarian

“Our struggle is not easy. Those that

oppose our cause are rich and powerful,

and they have many allies in high places.

We are poor. Our allies are few. But we

have something the rich do not own. We

have our own bodies and spirits and the

justice of our cause as our weapons.”

~ Cesar E. Chavez

Interesting Facts

Personal Life:

  • To help support his family, Chavez quit school in the seventh grade to become a full-time migrant farm worker.
  • Served two years in the U.S. Navy during WWII, while on leave in Delano, California, he chose to sit in the White section of a movie theatre and was arrested and put in jail.
  • He married Helen Fabela and the couple had eight children. 

Farm workers activism:

  • Practicied non-violence : fasting, boycotts, marches
  • He fasted for a life-threatening thirty-six days in mid-1988 to augment his antipesticide protest. 
  • Co-founder of the national farm workers assocaition (NFWA) later merginfg with American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFl-CIO) and ultimately becoming the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).
  • Lead a 5 year strike by California grape pickers, boycotting California grapes nationwide.
  • Rallying cry of the oppressed: Sí se puede ("Yes We Can!")


  • In 1994 President Bill Clinton posthumously awarded Chávez the U.S. Medal of Freedom.
  • His birthday, March 31, has become Cesar Chavez Day, a state holiday in California, Colorado, and Texas.
  • Inducted into the California Hall of Fame.


Learn More:

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300