The Chavez Family story began in a small farming community near Yuma, Arizona. In the year 1924, 38-year-old Librado Chavez and 32-year-old Juana Estrada married and would soon become the proud parents of six children, 3 boys and 3 girls. Rita, Helen, Vickie, Richard, Librado and the most famous Cesar grew up on the 160 acre family farm learning all there was to know about farming and raising livestock. In the 1930’s the family farm was lost because of the Great Depression when they could no longer pay the property taxes. In 1938 the Chavez family migrated from Arizona to California eventually settling in a San Jose barrio called Sal Si Puedes or “Get Out If You Can” and began working as farmworkers. Juana was a devout Roman Catholic, who not only attended service every Sunday, but also practiced her Christian values. She was a generous, philanthropic, pacifist woman who made it a priority to instill these values into her children. She would often advise her children saying, “Use your mind and mouth to talk things out.”
In 1962, stirred by the injustices and inhumane treatment of farmworkers, Cesar Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association, later joining by Dolores Huerta to become the UFW-United Farm Workers. Cesar who never owned a home or made more than $5,000 a year was embraced by his family to continue his life’s work and became involved in the movement.
The family influenced by Cesar’s passion for justice open their homes for meetings, organized marchs, helped with paperwork and even helped design the UFW logo.
Cesar passed away in his sleep on April 23, 1993, in San Luis, Arizona, only miles from his birthplace of 66 years earlier. More than 50,000 people attended his funeral services in the small town of Delano, California, the same community in which he had planted his seed for social justice only decades before.
In 1993, Rudy Chavez Medina, the nephew of social justice activist Cesar E. Chavez, organized San Jose’s first Cesar E. Chavez Commemoration March and Rally. Understanding the need for developing funding to, continue the annual event and wanting to address the needs in the community, required positive action. In 1998, understanding the need to develop funding to continue the annual event and wanting to address the needs in the community, Rudy Chavez Medina and his family established The Chavez Family Vision, Inc., a Public Non Profit organization in San Jose, California. It’s mission is inspired by the legacy of Librado and Juana Chavez family’s philosophy to espouse the principles of non-violence, utilize volunteerism and encourage public action in order to bring about positive changes in our society.
On August 8, 1994, at a White House ceremony, Helen Chavez, Cesar’s widow, accepted the Medal of Freedom for her late husband from President Clinton who said, “He faced formidable, often violent opposition with dignity and nonviolence. And he was victorious. Cesar Chavez left our world better than he found it, and his legacy inspires us still.” ¡Sí, Se Puede!
Our Board of Directors
- President: Barbara Medina-Aranda
- Vice President: Xavier Campos
- Secretary: Rosie Olivas
- Treasurer: Ric Peña
- Rita Chavez Medina
- Fred Aranda
- Diego Barragan
- Bill Kleidon
- Nancy Macias
- Mauricio Mejia
- Tony Arreola