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César E. Chávez National Monument honors life and legacy of Helen Chavez

On Jan. 21, the Monument honored Helen Chavez on what would have been her 96th birthday.
Posted at 5:04 PM, Jan 21, 2024

KEENE, Calif. (KERO) — Jan. 21, 2024 would have been Helen Chavez’s 96th birthday, and at the César E. Chávez National Monument, they honored Helen’s memory and her contribution to the cause.

“I feel very honored, honestly,” says Antonio Gallardo.

Gallardo is an archive and oral histories intern at the César E. Chávez National Monument.

On Sunday, Jan. 21, he was part of the celebration of Helen's life in Keene, something he says he took very seriously.

“Growing up as a farm worker myself, I’ve always known about Helen Chavez. I've known about Cesar Chavez, too, and being able to represent them and represent her in particular is very honoring to me,” Gallardo said.

On the table, different items were selected to represent parts of Helen’s life.

“This is a little basket of grapes. It represents her as a farm worker at a young age to provide for her family," Gallardo said. "[Next], a calculator. This represents her time in the Union...really just running the credit union herself. Then this pot over here represents her as a motherly figure not only to the union but to many others, like farm workers."

Gallardo says the pot on the table actually belonged to Helen, and she would often cook for people in the Union or for celebrations such as baptisms, quinceaneras or weddings.

Gallardo says being a part of celebrating Helen Chavez’s memory is something he holds close to his heart.

“I can’t speak for [everyone], but we as people of color, people of minorities–farm workers like myself–we really care for her," said Gallardo. "We want her and her family to know that we’ll keep honoring her name.”

Workers at the Cesar Chavez National Monument say that celebrating Helen on her birthday is just one way that they honor her memory and her contributions to the cause.

They say they have events coming up in March, and updates can be found on their social media, bothInstagram and Facebook.

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