BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Just days before Cesar Chavez’s birthday, the first lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden will be visiting Kern County with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director for a naturalization ceremony.
This is in commemoration of Cesar Chavez Day.
First Lady Biden will be visiting Villa La Paz where 31 people will become U.S. citizens and continue that tradition.
“For my father, it was a place where he was able to practice his belief of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” President of the Cesar Chavez Foundation Paul Chavez is talking about Nuestra Senora Reina La Paz, what’s now known as the National Chavez Center.
Chavez is one of Cesar Chavez’s eight children. He’s called La Paz home since 1972, when the rest of the Chavez family moved there with Cesar.
The 116 acres of land became the headquarters of the farm workers movement in 1971, people from all over the state gathering there for “la causa” or the cause.
Paul said it became a training and development center, a place for planning meetings, but it was so much more than that.
In time, it became a personal refuge for him. Whenever he left La Paz, and went out in the world, he was always involved in controversy, whether that be strikes, or boycotts, or fighting for legislation, protecting farm workers, or people’s benefits.
For him, La Paz was a place he could come home, and recharge his moral batteries, and prepare for the next struggle.
Activist Dolores Huerta, who alongside Cesar Chavez, Helen Chavez, Larry Itliong, and Philip De La Cruz, led the Farm Workers Movement, recalls the community of La Paz.
It’s where she lived and raised her children.
At the time she said people that worked for the union dwelled at the UFW Headquarters. They had a daycare center for the children and even universal church services.
“We have very fond memories of being there. It’s a beautiful place for children to grow up. Out in the foothills, there’s so much space, so much freedom. All my kids were so inspired by living at La Paz,” said Dolores Huerta.
Huerta said to this day the work there continues, as does the preservation of their history at the Cesar Chavez Foundation’s Museum on the grounds.
As Martha Crusius said it’s been a national monument since 2012 when another president, Barack Obama visiting that ceremony.
“National parks belong to the American people, so as somebody becomes an American citizen of this country, they take on that ownership”
It’s one of 400 national monuments across the U.S. where people annually are naturalized.
Naturalization ceremonies happen here twice a year on March 31 for Cesar Chavez’s birthday, and on October 8 on the anniversary of these 116 acres becoming a national monument.
“If the first lady is willing to come to the farmworker headquarters there, to the, you might say, the poorest of the poor, there are people that are essential workers that feed us every day, it’s such a strong, strong message to send out to everybody, of how important it is to for citizenship, for voting, for participation of the electoral process.”