Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Thank You from Cesar Chavez

Here’s an interesting find—a signed letter from Cesar Chavez to Jordan, dated January 30, 1974. Nearly 37 years ago, Chavez wrote this letter to Jordan in response to the congratulatory note she sent when Chavez received an award. Chavez was a Mexican-American farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist who was a cofounder of what is now known as the United Farm Workers (UFW), one of the foremost labor organizations in America today. In 1967, Chavez and the Texas affiliate of the UFW staged a march from the Rio Grande Valley to Austin to protest poor working conditions and low wages, asking for the passage of a minimum wage law. Jordan met with Chavez and the other workers, promising a hearing on a fair wage bill in the Texas Senate, and Jordan did co-sponsor a bill with Texas Senator Joe Bernal. While that particular bill died in committee, Jordan continued to work to get minimum wage laws successfully passed in Texas later in her Senate career. Chavez and Jordan shared an affinity and a vision for trying to make things better for all disadvantaged Americans.

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