Rally in San Francisco honors Cesar Chavez's legacy of fighting for workers' rights

In honor of his fight for worker’s rights, the United Farm Workers held a rally in the Mission District on Cesar Chavez Day.

Dozens of people gathered at the corner of Mission & Cesar Chavez Streets to call on Governor Newsom to sign the Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act.

UFW Coordinator Casimiro Alvarez said the bill would allow farm workers to vote by mail on union issues, instead of voting in the fields where supervisors can cause intimidation, fear, and influence.

Among those in the crowd were Agustin Ramirez, who still finds himself drawn to rallies decades after he UFW and Cesar Chavez in the 1980’s.

"Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta asked me to come work with them because I was bilingual," he said. "I used to work in the fields in Napa Valley."

Ramirez remembers Chavez’s passive demeanor. He said when Chavez talked, people listened. He also said Chavez led by example and working alongside him on labor issues was an immeasurable experience.

Jose Velasquez said he first saw Chavez when he was a 10-year-old boy while living in the Central Valley. He later worked the field, joined UFW and went on to become an attorney. 

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"We didn't believe in ourselves and he made us believe in ourselves… ‘Si se puede’, it can be done," Velasquez said. "We haven't had another Cesar Chavez come around, a person like him, male or female."

The civil rights and labor activist would have turned 95 today.