As a way to recognize the legacy of Cesar Chavez, Glendale dedicated a street to the civil-rights icon today.
Glendale officials held a ceremony where they formally renamed a section of 59th Avenue — from Glendale to Orangewood avenues — Cesar Chavez Boulevard. The ceremony was held a day after Chavez would have celebrated his 89th birthday. He passed away in 1993 at the age of 66.
At the ceremony, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers described Chavez as a person who “dedicated his life to helping make the lives of others better” and as “a leader who worked tirelessly to represent his community and to promote equality for all.”
Born in Yuma, Chavez is one of the nation’s most well-known and respected Latino civil-rights leaders. He devoted much of his life to improving the working conditions of farm workers across the country. He did so through his use of nonviolent actions, such as marches, boycotts, and hunger strikes.
He also founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers, along with civil-rights leader Dolores Huerta.
Chavez’s grandson Alejandro Chavez was at today’s street dedication ceremony. He said he lives a few miles from the newly named Cesar Chavez Boulevard and is looking forward to having his two children see it every time they pass by.
“This will serve as a reminder for them of not just their grandfather, but a man who is really the reason ...why we have the opportunities that we have,” he said.
Glendale Councilman Jamie Aldama led the effort to rename the street after Chavez. He said shortly after he was elected to City Council in November 2014, he presented the proposal and council members voted unanimously to move the plan forward earlier this year.
Aldama said the location was chosen not just because of how well traveled the road is, but because of its proximity to a small community where Chavez organized workers who packed fruit and vegetables onto trains.
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“Cesar Chavez fought for the rights of those workers, so it means a lot to us to have this street named after him,” he said.
Also at the ceremony was Congressman Ruben Gallego, who praised the late civil-rights leader for his work on behalf of farm workers. But he also noted there continues to be farm workers who face horrible working conditions and children under 16 years old who work on the farms for little pay.
“While we are here to dedicate this street to Cesar and Cesar’s movement, we also must remember that does not mean that we’re done fighting for what he believed in,” Gallego said. “I hope we’ll take that to heart and continue pushing forward to continue the legacy and the dreams of Cesar Chavez.”