“It really speaks to the contributions and importance of the work of our community. Immigrants have given and continue to give to this country, even in the toughest of times,” Paul Chavez, his son and the president and chairman of the Cesar Chavez Foundation, told CNN in an interview.
‘We hope this is the beginning of a new day’
The foundation runs a series of radio networks, airing in English and Spanish. Information from medical experts and local leaders on how to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and register for vaccines are a regular feature, as well as the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We made it a point to ensure that our listeners understood that the plight of African Americans is the plight of the Latino community,” Chavez told CNN. “While we may come from different backgrounds, we share the same plight and we share the same dreams.”
Chavez noted the toxicity of the prior administration toward Latinos and immigrants, saying, “The last four years you’ve heard so many derogatory things about our community, you would believe we all got here yesterday and that we’re here doing things we shouldn’t be doing.”
He highlighted the community’s long-standing patriotism, answering calls to service and working jobs that often go unfilled by other Americans. “Many times, we’re treated as second class citizens,” he added, “so what we do is remind people of the contributions and the importance that our community and immigrants bring to improve this society.”
Now, with a bust of Cesar Chavez prominently displayed behind the Resolute Desk, his son hopes efforts such as immigration reform will stay at the forefront of the new administration’s goals.
“We’re happy that the bust is there,” Paul said, focused less on the direct honor bestowed upon his father and instead on what it could mean for “a people that my father spent his entire life supporting and empowering.”
“It represents the hopes and aspirations of an entire community that has been demonized and belittled, and we hope this is the beginning of a new day, a new dawn in which the contributions of all Americans can be cherished and valued.”
CNN’s John King, Cindy Y. Rodriguez and Nicole Chavez contributed to this report.