Tune in to the Port’s YouTube channel on March 31st at noon for a panel discussion with Dolores Huerta, Rosalinda Guillen, and Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta
The Port of Seattle Commission voted today to recognize March 31st as César Chávez and Dolores Huerta Day at the Port of Seattle. César Chávez was an American farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist who, with civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers.
The Port of Seattle recognized the contributions of migrant farmworkers and partners in the film Trabajo: On Their Shoulders. Agricultural exports make up a significant share of the Port’s activity.
“Through self-sacrifice, a commitment to nonviolence, and their spirituality, César Chávez and Dolores Huerta championed a social justice movement that changed our nation,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Peter Steinbrueck. “Today, the Port of Seattle honors their accomplishments for equity and determined fight against racial and economic discrimination.”
Washington’s nearly 300,000 migrant and seasonal farmworkers are the backbone of our state’s agricultural sector, which, in turn, accounts for a significant portion of all exports through the Port of Seattle.
“César Chávez and Dolores Huerta were instrumental in organizing power for migrant farmworkers, which resulted in better working conditions, new protections against abuse, and higher compensation. They understood that shared prosperity, in which everyone benefits from economic activity, is essential to a healthy society—a value that we have embedded in our Century Agenda,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins. “Huerta has never ceased working toward justice, including empowering women in leadership, from the fields of Central California to the factories of Alabama, to the halls of Congress.”
Although the popular phrase “¡Sí Se Puede!” is attributed to the activism and civil rights work in which César Chávez Day on March 31st is celebrated, it was in fact Dolores Huerta who first said the words which translate in English to “Yes I can,” or “yes, we can,” as she rallied support for worker and immigrant rights.
“¡Sí Se Puede!” means that each of us, individually and collectively, have the power to change things and make them better,” said Yanet Maldonado, co-chair of the employee resource group, Latinos Unidos at the Port of Seattle, an organization founded in 2016. “Our community thanks the Port of Seattle for taking this action to recognize our efforts.”
The Washington State Legislature designated April 10th as the Dolores Huerta Day in Washington State starting in 2020. In March 2014, President Barack Obama proclaimed March 31st as César Chávez Day, and the month of March is also the when we celebrate and honor Women’s History.
Peter McGraw | Media Officer
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