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Forty Years Later

By Kevin Robinson in News on Sep 21, 2007 5:00PM

2007_9_grapes.jpgThis afternoon, Pat Quinn, the most progressive guy in state government, and Julie Chavez Rodriguez, granddaughter of United Farm Workers co-founder Cesar Chavez, will join state and local political and community leaders to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the UFW Grape Boycott. The ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. on the 15 floor of the State of Illinois Building and is open to the public, and this Saturday, the United Farm Workers will host a fundraiser in Pilsen to commemorate the anniversary as well.

The UFW Grape Boycott started as a strike on a grape farm in Delano, Calif., in 1965 and soon spread. By 1967, the UFW had launched a national boycott of table grapes, and Chicago was one of the primary destinations — we've got a large population, and a significant portion of it was connected in someway to the labor movement. Chavez alerted church groups, students, and consumers to the plight of farm workers, and locally Chavez engaged UFW members and activist communities in picket lines and non-violent protests. By 1970 most table grape workers were union, and the UFW had grown to 50,000.

During the month of March, Quinn's office sponsors the Cesar Chavez Serve and Learn Program, which encourages K-12 students to learn about the leadership and values of Chavez, to look for ways to serve in their own community, and then to reflect on the projects they have completed.

Image via liz_noize.