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Cesar Chavez Day Closures in L.A.

In 2011, President Barack Obama proclaimed March 31 of each year as Cesar Chavez Day nationally, although it is not a federal holiday.

Cesar Chavez.
Cesar Chavez.

Los Angeles city and state offices, including the Department of Motor Vehicles and Los Angeles Superior Courts, will be closed Monday to observe Cesar Chavez Day.

Federal offices and services, including the U.S. Postal Service, will be open. Banks, Metro bus, subway, train and trash collection services will all operate on their regular schedules.

Then-Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation in 2000 creating the state holiday honoring the late labor leader credited with improving work and quality- of-life conditions for immigrant farm workers in central California.

Chavez, an advocate of nonviolence, is especially remembered for spearheading a grape boycott in 1965 that went nationwide in 1968 and lasted until 1978, resulting in higher wages for farm workers and focusing national attention on their plight.

Born March 31, 1927, in Yuma, Ariz., Chavez dropped out of school after the eighth grade to help support his family by joining them in the fields as a migrant farm worker, witnessing the many adversities migrant workers faced daily.

Chavez  joined the Latino civil rights Community Service Organization in 1952, urging Latinos to register to vote.

In 1962, Chavez joined Dolores Huerta in co-founding the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers.

Chavez and the UFW played an instrumental role in the passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act in 1975, which made California the first state to give farm workers the right to seek union representation and bargain collectively within an established legal framework.

Chavez died in 1993 at age 66.

"Californians of every generation and background continue to be inspired by the leadership of Cesar Chavez," said Gov. Jerry Brown, who signed the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act into law.

"On this anniversary of his birth, I ask all Californians to join me in continuing to build on his dream of a world where all workers are treated with dignity and respect."

In 2011, President Barack Obama proclaimed March 31 of each year as Cesar Chavez Day nationally, although it is not a federal holiday.

In this year's proclamation, Obama called Chavez "one of America's greatest champions for social justice."

"The values Cesar Chavez lived by guide us still," Obama said. "Throughout his lifelong struggle, Cesar Chavez never forgot who he was fighting for.

"Today, let us honor Cesar Chavez and those who marched with him by meeting our obligations to one another. I encourage Americans to make this a national day of service and education by speaking out, organizing and participating in service projects to improve lives in their communities. Let us remember, that when we lift each other up, when we speak with one voice, we have the power to build a better world."

—City News Service

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