NewsCovering Kern County


First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited Delano to celebrate activist Cesar Chavez

Posted at 9:59 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 00:59:07-04

DELANO, Calif. — First Lady Dr. Jill Biden's motorcade arrived at the Forty Acres site just after 2 Wednesday afternoon. Governor Gavin Newsom joined her. But Wednesday's event wasn't about big names visiting Kern County, it was about celebrating civil rights and labor activist Cesar Chavez, a pioneer in Delano.

"It's a great honor to be here with those to celebrate with those who knew and loved Cesar," said Dr. Biden.

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden took to the podium just after 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, in what local leaders are calling a historic visit to Delano on Cesar Chavez Day. Dr. Biden underlining the pioneering work of Chavez, who in the 60s, led the Delano Grape Strike, a transformative movement calling for better working conditions for farmworkers.

"Without the farmworkers who kept harvesting our food, or the factory workers who packaged it, or the grocery store clerks who stocked our shelves, hey, we wouldn't have made it through this year."

The First Lady made her remarks before moving to a roundtable with local farmworkers.

"My parents are undocumented, my husband is undocumented, we always live with that fear."

During the roundtable, Dr. Biden heard issues ranging from discrimination against farmworkers, the need for labor unions, and women's struggle to deal with work and childcare during the pandemic.

Local leaders and farmworkers saying it's historical for the first lady to visit Delano, which some call the birthplace of the farm labor movement.

President Joe Biden has shown his high regards for Chavez too, as part of his redecoration of the oval office, he has placed a bust of Chavez behind his desk.

"That's what I think about when I think of Cesar Chavez, someone that didn't wait for permission," said Gavin Newsom.

Governor Gavin Newsom, also in Delano for the event, signaled his appreciation for Chavez, who championed farmworker's dignity in the central part of his state.

Doctor Biden wrapped up her visit in Delano by touring a free COVID vaccination site specifically dedicated to farmworkers, which is a population that health officials say faces barriers to getting the shot. The First Lady speaking for herself, and on behalf of President Joe Biden, thanking the workers at the Forty-acre site for trying to help keep a vulnerable population safe.

"The president and I want you to know that we stand with you," said Dr. Biden.

Doctor Biden left just before 5 p.m. and officials say north of 300 farmworkers were expected to be vaccinated Wednesday.