President Obama: Don't Forget Cesar Chavez's Arizona Legacy Today
While the recall and legislation would both be caught up in the courts, the impact of Chavez's work in Arizona was irreversible: In 1974, thanks to the thousands of new voters signed up by the "si se puede" movement, Raul Castro was elected governor of Arizona -- the first and only Latino governor.
Speaking at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco in 1984, Chavez foretold the connections between his work and today's historic demographic shift in California, Arizona and the nation:
"The consciousness and pride that were raised by our union are alive and thriving inside millions of young Hispanics who will never work on a farm," Chavez had concluded. "Like the other immigrant groups, the day will come when we win the economic and political rewards which are in keeping with our numbers in society. The day will come when the politicians do the right thing by our people out of political necessity and not out of charity or idealism. That day may not come this year. That day may not come during this decade. But it will come, someday!"
That day is now, in Arizona, President Obama, as you go to California on Monday.
A new generation of Latino activists and their allies will be organizing across the state against SB 1070, the Mexican American Studies ban, Sheriff Arpaio and on behalf of Dream Activists and progressive candidates.
Jeff Biggers is author of the newly released State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream (Nation Books). Follow Jeff Biggers on Twitter @JeffRBiggers