Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez's Family Surprised, Excited to See His Bust in Oval Office

NBC Universal, Inc.

A bust of the late civil rights leader Cesar Chavez now sits directly behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office at the White House.

Chavez's family told NBC Bay Area the placement of the bust was a surprise even to them.

"I was very excited, very proud," Teresa Chavez Delgado, Cesar's granddaughter, said.

The Chavez family said they received a call on Tuesday from the White House asking if they could borrow the bust that was displayed at the Chavez Museum in Kern County. By the next day, the bust was boxed and delivered.

It wasn't until the family saw the news that they realized where it would be displayed.

"It signals that there's a new day, there’s a new dawn," Paul Chavez, Cesar's son, said. "For the last four years, our community and a lot of folks in this country have lived a nightmare."

Cesar Chavez advocated non-violent action to fight for the rights of farm workers.

"I remember my grandfather saying that the sad irony is that sometimes the people that are working so hard to get us food and to help us nourish ourselves and our families sometimes don’t have enough food for themselves and their families," Teresa said.

Paul said he remembers now-President Joe Biden once telling him that Cesar both inspired and motivated him.

"The bust there reminds us of the contributions and the importance of our community to this nation," Paul said. "We’re excited about what it means. It validates that we are an important part of this country."

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