President Obama will visit Keene Monday, Oct. 8, to announce the establishment of a Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, the White House announced today.
The monument, which will be designated under the Antiquities Act, will be established on property in Keene called Nuestra Senora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace), better known as La Paz.
The property is historically significant due to its links to civil rights icon Chavez and the farm worker movement.
United Farm Workers of America confirmed the visit and thanked Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on its Facebook page.
UFW President Arturo Rodriguez said, "Even though Cesar Chavez dedicated his life to the farm workers, his legacy, reflected at La Paz where he spent his last quarter century, transcended farm labor and even Latinos because it became a universal message of hope, empowerment and social justice."
Chavez's widow, Helen F. Chavez, issued a statement expressing her gratitude to the government for "ensuring that La Paz, where Cesar lived and worked his last 22 years and where he asked to be buried, will always be preserved."
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer also praised the announcement that President Obama will establish the César E. Chávez National Monument in Keene, at the home and final resting place of the legendary civil rights and labor leader, which also served as the headquarters of his farm labor movement for 22 years.
“I commend President Obama for honoring the life and legacy of César Chávez, an American hero who dedicated his life to promoting equal rights and justice for all Americans,” Senator Boxer said.
“This new national monument will serve as a lasting tribute not only to César Chávez, but to the millions of hard-working men and women he fought for, who have contributed so much to our country.”
Senator Boxer has been a strong advocate for national recognition of the site’s importance to California’s heritage and our country’s history.
In June 2011, she and Senator Feinstein wrote a letter to the National Park Service urging the agency to list La Paz on the National Register of Historic Places, which was recommended by the California State Historical Resources Commission.
COURTENAY EDELHART of The Bakersfield Californian contributed to this report.