Thursday, July 28, 2011

Obama Pays Tribute To Richard Estrada Chavez

President hails United Farm Workers leader as inspiration in battle for agricultural labor rights...
President Obama this morning paid tribute to Richard Estrada Chavez as an inspirational leader in the US farm labor movement; he was a driving force behind the creation of United Farm Workers. Estrada died on Wednesday, aged 81; he was the brother of farm labor icon Cesar Chavez and the husband of Dolores Huerta, co-founders of United Farm Workers.

Richard Estrada Chavez passed away in Bakersfield, CA, after complications from surgery, UFW said. Last year, he and other UFW leaders joined President Obama in the Oval Office as the President signed a Proclamation designating March 31, 2010, as Cesar Chavez Day. Chavez would have been 83. (Top: Chavez is second from right, partially hidden in back row)

The President's full statement:

Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Richard Estrada Chavez yesterday. Richard spent his life in the service of others alongside his brother Cesar and his wife, Dolores Huerta, co-founders of the United Farm Workers. It was Richard who designed the UFW's iconic eagle, a symbol of hope that has helped carry the struggle for the rights of farm workers forward for almost five decades.

Throughout his years of service, Richard fought for basic labor rights but also worked to improve the quality of life for countless farm workers. And beyond his work, Richard was a family man. I was honored to have Richard visit the Oval Office last year on Cesar Chavez Day with other family members, and will never forget the stories they shared. Richard understood that the struggle for a more perfect union and a better life for all America's workers didn't end with any particular victory or defeat, but instead required a commitment to getting up every single day to keep at it.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Richard's family and loved ones. We take comfort in knowing that the work he was passionate about will be continued by all he helped to inspire.

*Official White House Photo by Pete Souza