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Obama: 'Today we celebrate Cesar Chavez'

Associated Press Modified: October 8, 2012 at 6:32 pm •  Published: October 8, 2012
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As head of the United Farm Workers of America, Chavez staged a massive grape boycott and countless field strikes, and forced growers to sign contracts providing better pay and working conditions to the predominantly Latino farmworkers. He was credited with inspiring millions of other Latinos in their fight for more educational opportunities, better housing and more political power.

Obama seemed to tie Chavez to his own re-election campaign, saying: "Even though we have a difficult road ahead, I know we can keep moving forward together. " Obama's 2012 campaign motto is "Forward."

Helen Chavez and son Paul Chavez were among those attending the ceremony. Dolores Huerta, co-founder with Chavez of the UFW, and current union president Arturo S. Rodriguez also were present, as were Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and other officials.

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Associated Press writer Matthew Daly in Washington contributed to this report.