More than 7,000 people made the journey to the tiny Central Valley town of Keene on Monday to witness President Barack Obama dedicate the César E. Chávez National Monument.
Although many high-profile guests such as Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Hollywood starlet Rosario Dawson were in attendance, the event’s focus was set squarely on the farm workers, school children and Chávez family members in attendance.
“Today, La Paz joins a long line of national monuments, stretching from the Statue of Liberty to the Grand Canyon ”” monuments that tell the story of who we are as Americans,” Obama said. “It’s a story of natural wonders and modern marvels, of fierce battles and quiet progress. But it’s also a story of people ”” of determined, fearless, hopeful people who have always been willing to devote their lives to making this country a little more just and a little more free.”
Nuestra Senora Reina de la Paz, as the memorial site is also known, was Chávez’s home for the last 22 years of his life. The 187-acre monument site in the Tehachapi foothills is also where the former civil rights leader is buried.