by Jaime Martinez
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Photo by LAGA
by Jaime Martinez
The Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Educational Foundation in San Antonio, Texas, mourns the passing of one of the greatest fighters, who fought for the dignity and justice in the fields, alongside his brother Cesar E. Chavez, Dolores Huerta for the "forgotten people" the farm workers. The struggle in the fields is well documented, and history was made in 1962 at the Farm workers founding convention in an abandoned theatre in Fresno California when Cesar E. Chavez unveiled the UFW Flag which was designed by his brother Richard Chavez. We members of the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Educational Foundation ask our community to take a moment of silence and pray for the Chavez family. We are saddened by this great loss. Richard Chavez came to San Antonio, Texas several times to our Cesar E. Chavez March for Justice and served as our Grand Marshal for the Cesar E. Chavez March for Justice in 2006.
Richard Chavez began his activism in the early 1960's as a journeyman carpenter, he dedicated quality time during the week and weekends helping his brother Cesar E. Chavez as an organizer for the dream they had organizing a union for the farm workers which later became the United Farm workers Union of America. The Chavez family grew up on their small family homestead in the North Gila River Valley outside of Yuma, AZ. When the family lost their the family farm during the great depression they became migrant workers and labored beside each other as children in the California fields.
Richard began his activism with Cesar Chavez in the Community Service Organization, then the most effective Latino organization civil rights group in California, in 1952, and was president of the Delano CSO chapter, which he helped form.
He was involved over the years in organizing boycotts of California table grapes and other products in New York and Detroit. He also went to the United Kingdom and spoke in Parliament about the grape boycott, which according to the Harris polls surveys, 17 million people joined the Grape Boycotts, during the 60's and 70's. Richard Chavez was in charge of administrating union contracts in 1970, and later negotiated UFW agreements and over saw union bargaining . Richard was first elected to the UFW executive board in 1973.
After his retirement from the UFW remained active . He designed and built the simple wood coffin for his brother Cesar E. Chavez that was carried throughout Delano, for the funeral of his brother Cesar. I attended the funeral April 29, 1993, 50,000 people came to pay tribute to the Chavez family, including Ethel Kennedy and her family, Pope John Paul II, President Bill Clinton, and others.
Richard Chavez will be remembered in all of us as a great leader who fought for social and economic justice for the poor and the farm worker and economically disadvantage. I kept Ricard Chavez informed about the Durango St. name change and was very happy that San Antonio, Texas will join other cities throughout the country in honor of his brother, St name Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard. The Cesar E. Chavez Sevice Center will have a memorial in the near future in his honor.
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