Hilda Solis was the first Latina to serve as Secretary of Labor and that is just one of her many “firsts.”
She was the first member in her family to go to college, earning degrees from California State Polytechnic University and University of Southern California. She was the first Latina elected into the California State Senate in 1994 and was re-elected in 1998. Solis was the first Latina to become a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee in congress and her nomination as Secretary of Labor made her the first Latina to serve in the U.S. cabinet.
Tomorrow is a holiday in the State of California. While some of us may have the day off, work will be at the top of our minds as we honor Latino labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar E. Chavez, who was born on March 31, 1927.
Chavez is an inspirational figure to so many — especially here in California, where he co-founded the organization that would become the United Farm Workers (UFW). But what inspired him to transition from farm worker to labor organizer?
Using archival footage, oral history interviews and more, the documentary “Organize! The Lessons of the Community Service Organization” looks at the pivotal grassroots effort launched in the 1940’s that empowered a generation of Mexican-Americans, including Chavez. Poor immigrants were able to move into the mainstream of American society through voter registration drives, lawsuits and legislative campaigns. Over 50 years later, the leaders of the movement reflect on the impact.
Take this opportunity to host your own Cesar Chavez Day celebration by watching the documentary. You might also want to browse around the Cesar Chavez learning resources put together by the California Departement of Education.