Bill would expand existing Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, creating new park with multiple sites across California and Arizona
Los Angeles, CA – A bill to create a new national historical park to mark the life of Cesar E. Chavez and the wider farmworker movement was today introduced to Congress by Rep Raul Ruiz and Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA).
The bill, which would designate a Cesar Chavez and Farmworker Movement National Historical Park, is the result of more than a decade of work by community advocates, members of Congress, and a wide range of organizations, including the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA).
The legislation follows recommendations finalized by the National Park Service in 2012 from its multi-year study of the life of Cesar Chavez and the history of the farmworker movement in California and the West.
If passed, the bill would expand the existing Cesar E. Chavez National Monument and create a new park with multiple sites in California and Arizona. In addition to exploring Cesar Chavez’s life and work, the park will celebrate and share other leaders and aspects of the farmworker movement including Larry Itliong and the Filipino farmworkers who were instrumental to the creation of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. The park would also include “The 40 Acres” in Delano, California, which served as the first headquarters for the UFW and the route of the 300-mile farmworker march to Sacramento in 1966, which generated national attention to their struggle for dignity, better working conditions, and fair wages.
NPCA has been involved in multiple aspects of the effort for more than a decade, including calling for and celebrating the establishment of the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, supporting the Park Service in its multi-year study, facilitating conversations with key stakeholders and partners, and assisting the legislative offices now championing this effort in Congress.
“The Latinx population in the U.S. numbers over 60 million, yet the community’s diverse and complex story remains largely unrepresented in our national parks.” said Sally Garcia, Los Angeles Outreach Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). “The new park will highlight Cesar Chavez’s life and work, as well as celebrate and share other leaders and aspects of the farmworker movement including Larry Itliong and the Filipino farmworkers, who were instrumental to the creation of the United Farm Workers. It will play an important role in our political and social discourse in immigration, civil and labor rights, and issues relevant to the Latinx community.”
“Establishing the Cesar Chavez and Farmworker Movement National Historical Park is a significant step toward recognizing the legacy of Chavez and the broader farmworker movement, which transformed agriculture and labor organizing in the American West.“ said Dennis Arguelles, Los Angeles Program Manager for the NPCA. "We are grateful to Senator Alex Padilla and Representative Raul Ruiz for their leadership in preserving this critical piece of American history and seeking its inclusion in our national park system.”
“Ten years after President Obama established the César E. Chávez National Monument, we call on Congress to build upon that foundation through a National Historical Park that will preserve the broader history of the Farmworker Movement – a movement that united heroic women and men who were seeking fairness and equality,” said Sehila Mota Casper, Executive Director of Latinos in Heritage Conservation. “We also recognize that the National Park Service must continue to improve upon its efforts to be America’s storyteller and thereby attract, educate, and serve America’s increasingly diverse population. The César E. Chávez and the Farmworker Movement National Historical Park would interpret an important chapter in our nation’s history, celebrate our nation’s growing diversity, and strengthen the unity we must share today if we are to overcome the challenges of tomorrow.”
“It is crucial that our national parks represent the diversity of America and respect the rich heritage of its people. Establishing this National Park would help fulfill this vision,” said Dr. Michelle Magalong, President of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Historic Preservation. “Establishing such a park is an opportunity to spread the legacy and vision of Chavez and other leaders in the farm labor movement to audiences around the country. We support honoring the legacy of many leaders of the farm labor movement and support legislation by Senator Padilla and Representative Ruiz to establish the Cesar E. Chavez and the Farmworker Movement National Historical Park.”
“We applaud the steps taken to establish the Cesar Chavez and Farm Labor Movement National Historical Park and honor the historical farm labor movement,” said Shanna Edberg, Director of Conservation Programs for Hispanic Access Foundation. “Only 8% of historic, cultural, and public land designations are based on Latino, Black, Indigenous and other communities of color histories and this offers an opportunity to expand our nation’s narrative to be inclusive of the histories and contributions of Latino communities in the United States.”
About National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA): Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its nearly 1.6 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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