Cesar Chavez Remembered

It has been 50 years since a local man decided to live a life of poverty and humility to help the farm workers.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCSanDiego
    Students from O'Farrell Community School pose with the art piece they created to honor Cesar Chavez. The mural is made out of 5,500 dominos.

    It has been 50 years since a local man decided to live a life of poverty and humility to help the farm workers.

    Cesar Chavez began his organizing career in San Jose, and it was here that he first decided to form the United Farm Workers of America.

    Tonight the UFW is holding its 50th anniversary national convention in Bakersfield.

    Celebrities and political leaders from the national stage are here in Bakersfield to honor an organization founded by a man who spoke up for those who didn't have a voice.

    There was nothing flamboyant, nothing flashy about Cesar Chavez.

    "They told him that he was crazy," Rita Chavez Medina, Cesar's older sister said. "He was always thinking of farm workers. And he knew they didn't have anywhere to live. And we lived that way, under a tree, in a tent, an old house by the cows. That's the way we were when we were farm workers." 

    Chavez formed the United Farm Workers of America in 1962.

    There were death threats and Cesar put his safety in the hands of his two German Shepherds, Boycott and Huelga.

    Cesar died 19 years ago, but his legacy continues. Streets and buildings are named after him. There is a campaign for a national holiday in his name as well. On May 5th, the Pentagon unveiled the USNS Cesar Chavez, a cargo ship named after the Navy Veteran.

    "It was something I'll never forget. It was beautiful. I could feel him there, feel his spirit." Rita said.

    The UFW today continues its fight for farm workers, some who've died from heat related illness in the fields.

    The convention is also a celebration of Cesar's legacy - a man who's still in the minds of many.