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From Coachella Valley fields to the Oval Office: local reaction to bust of farm worker advocate Cesar Chavez in White House

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In Biden's Oval Office, Cesar Chavez takes his place among America's heroes.

Chavez sought to bring awareness to the harsh conditions of farmworkers in the US and fight for better wages.

The prominent inclusion of his bust in the West Wing came the same day that Biden proposed immigration legislation that would allow undocumented farmworkers to qualify to apply for green cards immediately.

“Cesar worked directly here,” Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez said during an event to honor Chavez in 2018. “In fact, he organized at Veterans Park. His office was actually across the street at the Casa de Trabajador. He got his first labor contracts here within the City of Coachella. So, the City of Coachella has a lot of history affiliated with Cesar Chavez.”

New Channel’s Dani Romero shows us how this  statue is a symbol of hope. 

“For us to see it, it just signifies that the Biden administration is really caring about the labor class the working class, the farmworker," said Steven Hernandez, Mayor of Coachella.  

Hernandez discusses the significance behind the bust of farm worker advocate, Cesar Chavez.

“Its about elevating the conversation of our farmer workers that they deserve to be treated with respect and with dignity and to be treated as frontline and essential employees and that deserve to be paid a living wages," said Hernandez.

Cesar Chavez made bold moves in the 1960’s and 1970’s fighting to improve the lives and working conditions of thousands of California farm workers.

His movement started here in the valley at Veterans Park in Coachella. 

“Back in the day, the police captain turned the sprinklers on," said Hernandez. "On a group of folks organizing with Cesar kinda of shoeing him away but we are glad that didn't deter him.” 

His office is also nearby known as "Casa del Trabajador."

“Cesar would organize, he would make different calls to provide service to his union members as well as documentation," said Hernandez.

His legacy continues. A memorial was built in his honor with an Aztec eagle: a symbol that means pride.

Not only has he made an impact in the community but also with teachers and students at the school named after him.

“In the world that we're living today the life and legacy that Chavez left to us and to our young children is the lesson that we need to impart in our everyday lives," said Sandra Campos.

Sandra Campos, a second grade teacher at Cesar Chavez School, is hoping that Cesar Chavez Day could someday be recognized nationally. 

“Where we can not just celebrate the life of somebody, but take it a step further we celebrating this person's life, we're celebrating, embracing and imparting the legacy and the lessons of service to others in young children across the nation," said Campos.

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Dani Romero

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