Actors Sheen, Olmos and Carlos Santana Chair Chavez Campaign

The AFL-CIO's campaign to establish March 31 as a national holiday honoring Cesar Chávez now has three big entertainers' names attached to it; the national co-chairs of the campaign are musician Carlos Santana and actors Edward James Olmos and Martin Sheen.

The Cesar E. Chávez National Holiday organization, based in Los Angeles (www.cesarchavezholiday.org) wants the date, which was his birthday, honored in his memory. All three entertainers supported Chávez, the founder of the Farm Workers union (www.ufw.org), which fought to gain labor rights for farm workers in California in the 1960s and 1970s.

Chávez died in 1993. He "lived his life fighting for workers' rights, civil rights, environmental justice, equality for all, peace, non-violence, children and women's rights. He also inspired millions of people across the country to join the fight for social and economic justice for farm workers and to empower the poor and disenfranchised," the AFL-CIO's blogger, Mike Hall, wrote Feb. 2.

The group is coordinating national actions and events March 31 with unions, community civil rights, and other organizations in more than 40 cities. California in 2000 became the first state to honor Chávez with a holiday. Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island also have Chávez holidays. A bill in Congress (H.R. 76) would create a National César Chávez Day, Hall reported.

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