REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
Cesar Chavez Day of Service Proclamation
Monday, March 25, 2019
I’m so thrilled to be here today. Thank you, Reyna Lopez, for that introduction, and thank you to PCUN for bringing us all together. I’d also like to recognize our legislators in attendance — Representative Hernandez, Representative Alonso-Leon, thank you for joining us.
There is no question that one person, one dedicated person with good ideas, can change the world. And sometimes, it is two.
We are here today to honor the work of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta.
They dedicated their lives to non-violent organizing for fair wages, accessible health care, safe labor conditions, and dignity for all workers. For the women, men, and children who toil in our fields. They led a struggle that included advocacy, public fasting, boycotts, labor strikes, and policy change.
They started their work together after seeing incredible injustices.
Dolores, a teacher, found her life’s passion after she could no longer bear to see her students come to school with empty stomachs and bare feet.
Cesar was a former farmworker. He knew the difficulties first hand.
They both watched families around them struggle to chase the American Dream — one built around the assumption that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can earn a chance at a better life for yourself and your children.
In turn, their communities struggled too. It seemed that no matter how much they worked, it was very hard to get ahead, much less, plan for the future.
The so-called rules were not written in their favor. So Dolores and Cesar decided to change the rules.
They tackled complicated challenges under the premise of one simple phrase: “Si, se puede.”
Yes, we can.
It’s so powerful that our first black presidential candidate used it as his campaign slogan, and rode its power all the way to the White House. Of course, he gave credit where it was due when he awarded Dolores the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
It’s still powerful today, because we still have work to do.
Oregon has one of the largest farm worker populations in the nation. You are key leaders and contributors for our agribusiness, our economy, and our communities. And strong unions have been and will continue to be one of the pillars upon which Oregon’s middle class is built.
My vision is of an Oregon where we increase economic prosperity and do it in a way that ensures prosperity is inclusive. An Oregon where everyone is given the same fair shot at building a better life for themselves and for their children.
Today, in honor of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, let us recommit and rededicate ourselves to this vision and ensure that Oregon is a place of economic and political justice. That our workers receive a living wage and a safe working environment. That our have families have access to safe, warm, dry, and affordable places to call home. That everyone has access to health care. That it is a place where everyone can thrive.
I know that by working together, we can build a better Oregon.
¡Si, se puede!