March 31, 2020

Udall Statement Honoring César Chávez Day

SANTA FE—Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) released the following statement honoring the legacy of civil and labor rights activist César Chávez, founder of the National Farm Workers Association, now the United Farm Workers union:

“César Chávez was a workers’ rights and civil rights hero who refused to accept that the farmworkers who harvest the food that nourishes Americans families did not have enough for themselves and their own families. Chávez’s dedication to protecting the dignity and human rights of farmworkers formed the foundations of a labor movement that paved the way for working people everywhere. Together with civil rights icon—and New Mexico native—Dolores Huerta, Chávez helped unite people across the country, and I join with so many others in New Mexico, throughout the nation and the world in drawing continued inspiration from his commitment to justice, fair treatment for workers, and equality.

“César Chávez spoke to what it means to be a multicultural nation, and his lessons are especially meaningful for a state like New Mexico – where our diversity is our strength. Hateful and racist rhetoric has no place in American government, particularly in a political climate that demonizes and targets immigrants and Latinos who contribute so much to New Mexico and the country. In the Senate, I am committed to honoring Chávez’s legacy by standing with the labor movement, and fighting harmful pesticides that threaten the health and safety of farmworkers in the fields, championing a fair minimum wage, defending DREAMers and building bridges, not walls. And as the nation and the world confront the COVID-19 pandemic, we must extend particular protections to the essential farmworkers who continue to work despite the risks, as well as to the most vulnerable among us.

“As Chávez himself said, history will judge governments ‘not by how big they are or how well they serve the rich and the powerful, but by how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless.’ It falls to all of us to ensure that our children learn about how, in the face of unprecedented challenges, we stood with workers and their families and embraced unity over division.”