KEENE, Calif. -
Cesar Chavez supporters say Monday’s event establishing the Cesar Chavez National Monument was the result of years of struggle and sacrifice.
Many in the crowd lived that struggle and were in Keene to celebrate two victories for social equality.
It was a partylike atmosphere at the event Monday, as people celebrated the achievements of two minority communities.
"One to commemorate Cesar Chavez getting the national monument, and to be here to see President Barack Obama as well," said Bakersfield resident James Burton.
Burton left his home in at 5 Monday morning.
"We waited in line to catch the bus a little over an hour and a half, but it was well worth it," he said.
Burton went to the event with his girlfriend and his two godparents.
They said it was something they just couldn't miss.
"It is more important, especially talking to my grandfather, who is 83 years old. I heard a lot from him, especially coming from where he came from. (This is) not something they thought they would see in their lifetime," Burton said.
Some came from much farther to attend the ceremony.
"We left yesterday and we spent the night in our car, me and my brother, because all the hotel rooms were gone," said Riverside resident Katie Greene.
Growing up in the '60s and '70s, Greene said she watched as both Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez fought for equality.
She said today is the perfect celebration of everything both men achieved.
"It’s really nice to be here for this event and to see (Obama) because I am old enough to remember it all," Greene said.
Both Greene and Burton said it is up to their generation to make sure the younger generations understand the years of struggle and sacrifice that led to today.
"I think some of them do; some do and some don’t. I think some of them do if they have had some hard times and they have been through the struggle," Burton said.
"We just have to keep telling the story; talking and talking. Don’t give up on them," Greene said.