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FRESNO, Calif.—President Barack Obama has declared March 31 as Cesar Chavez Day, honoring the late farmworker activist on his birthday.

Obama signed the proclamation Wednesday, saying that “Chavez’s legacy provides lessons from which all Americans can learn.”

Through non-violent boycotts, marches and fasts, Chavez led a movement to protest the use of harmful pesticides and won improved wages and conditions for those who toiled in the fields. He inspired millions of Americans to social and political activism in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

The Yuma, Arizona, native died in 1993 of natural causes. He would have been 84 on Thursday.

Before Wednesday’s proclamation, 10 states already commemorated Cesar Chavez Day, including California, Arizona and New Mexico.


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