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White House Highlights Rogelio Lona as a Cesar Chavez “Champion of Change”
03/28/2012

White House Highlights Rogelio Lona as a Cesar Chavez “Champion of Change”

Recognition Part of Administration-Wide Effort
to Celebrate Iconic Civil Rights Leader

Washington, DC – On Thursday, March 29th, the White House will honor farm worker activist Rogelio Lona as one of ten leaders being recognized as Champions of Change who, like Cesar Chavez, have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of others throughout their community and across the Nation. One of our Nation’s great civil rights leaders, Cesar Estrada Chavez came of age as a migrant farm worker, witnessing the injustice that pervaded fields and vineyards across California.  Yet amidst hardship and abuse, Cesar Chavez saw the promise of change—the unlimited potential of a community organized around a common purpose.

Rogelio Lona is a farm worker, activist, community organizer who has worked in the fields of California for more than 47 years. For 32 of those years he has been a member of the United Farm Workers.  

Watch Live Tomorrow: Cesar Chavez Champions of Change

People around the country are invited to watch live and engage online. Here's how you can participate:

RSVP for the event on Facebook and pose your questions for the panel

On Thursday, March 29th at 1:30 p.m. EDT, watch and engage live on Facebook through the White House Live App.
You can also watch live on WhiteHouse.gov/live

Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #WHChamps #UFW

The Chavez Champions of Change recognition is part of an Administration-wide effort to celebrate the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez as we approach what would have been the civil rights leader’s 85th birthday on March 31st. President Obama also signed a Presidential Proclamation affirming that, “On the 85th anniversary of Cesar Chavez’s birth, we are reminded of what we can accomplish when we recognize our common humanity…Today, we celebrate his courage, reflect on his lifetime of advocacy, and recognize the power in each of us to lift up lives and pursue social justice.”

The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Actress America Ferrera, who will be playing Helen F. Chavez in the upcoming biopic called CHAVEZ to be filmed this Spring, will participate in Thursday’s Champions of Change event.  To learn more about our Champions go to www.whitehouse.gov/champions and to watch the event live, go to www.whitehouse.gov/live at 1:30pm ET on March 29th.  To read the full proclamation, click HERE.

In addition to the Champions of Change program, on Monday, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis led an Induction of the Pioneers of the Farm Worker Movement into the Labor Hall of Honor. During that event the Secretary also dedicated the Department of Labor’s auditorium in honor of César E. Chávez. Administration officials including Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and White House Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz were in attendance. On Thursday, April 5th, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will also address the 12th Annual César Chávez Legacy Awards Dinner in Los Angeles, CA. In May in San Diego, CA, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Juan Garcia will keynote a U.S. Navy ceremony to christen the USNS Cesar Chavez in recognition of the civil rights leader’s service during World War II.

Rogelio Lona is a farm worker, activist, community organizer and a leader. He has worked in the fields of California for more than 47 years and for 32 of those years he has been a member of the United Farm Workers. Just like his mentor, Cesar Chavez, Lona experienced and lived the struggles of the early farm worker movement. And, although the struggle is not over, Lona has also been able to savor some of the victories that farm workers had been able to accomplish through the work of the UFW to improve the working conditions of the men and women who labor in the fields. Until this day, Lona practices the legacy and values that Cesar Chavez left him: non-violence, respect, dignity, organization and empowerment of others.


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Featured UFW Marches

Oxnard
Cesar Chavez March

Sunday April 1, 2012 @10 am
Click for more information

* * *

Santa Rosa
Cesar Chavez March

Sunday April 1, 2012 @1 pm
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