Martin Luther King

Dick Meister: Cesar Chavez: A true American hero


By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. He's the co-author of "A Long Time Coming: The Struggle To Unionize American's Farm Workers" (Macmillan). Contact him through his website,

I hope we can all pause and reflect on the extraordinary life of a true American hero on Saturday (March 31). It's Cesar Chavez Day, proclaimed by President Obama and observed throughout the country on the 85th birth date of the late founder of the United Farm Workers union.  In California, it's an official state holiday.

As President Obama noted, Chavez was a leader in launching "one of our nation's most inspiring movements." He taught us, Obama added, "that social justice takes action, selflessness and commitment. As we face the challenges of the day, let us do so with the hope and determination of Cesar Chavez."

Like another American hero, Martin Luther King Jr., Chavez inspired and energized millions of people worldwide to seek and win basic human rights that had long been denied them, and inspired millions of others to join the struggle. Read more »