The White House announced this week that Barack Obama will be stopping amidst his campaigning at the home of former labor leader Cesar Chavez in Keene, California, in order to establish the estate as a national monument, something that is clearly designed to sure up Hispanic voters.
On Monday, during a campaign swing through California, President Barack Obama will designate 105 acres of the property as a national monument within the National Park system – a move that could help shore up support from Hispanic and progressive voters before the election.
As head of the UFW, the Arizona-born Chavez staged a massive grape boycott and countless field strikes, and forced growers to sign contracts providing better pay and working conditions to the predominantly Latino farmworkers. He was credited with inspiring millions of other Latinos in their fight for more educational opportunities, better housing and more political power.
The 187-acre site, known as Nuestra Senora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace), or simply La Paz, served as the planning and coordination center of the UFW starting in 1971. It’s where Chavez and many organizers lived, trained and strategized before heading into the fields and cities of California and beyond. Chavez taught farmworkers how to write contracts and negotiate with growers.
Creation of a national monument at La Paz follows designation of the site in the San Joaquin Valley near Bakersfield as a national historic site. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the site’s designation on the National Register of Historic Places last year.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Chavez’s founding of the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the UFW.
The Chavez monument will be the fourth national monument designated by Obama using the Antiquities Act. He previously designated Virginia’s Fort Monroe, California’s Fort Ord and Colorado’s Chimney Rock as national monuments.
“César Chávez gave a voice to poor and disenfranchised workers everywhere,” said Obama. “La Paz was at the center of some of the most significant civil rights moments in our nation’s history, and by designating it a national monument, Chávez’ legacy will be preserved and shared to inspire generations to come.”
What you need to know is that in the midst of a failing economy, deficit spending and increased national debt, Obama, for the sake of politics, will go and anoint this site as a national monument at taxpayers expense to ensure he gets Hispanic votes. That is all this is about.