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Helen Chavez
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Celebrity's Relative
    (January 21, 1928-June 6, 2016)
    Born in Brawley, California
    Born Helen Fabela
    Labor activist, administrator, and secretary
    Widow of Mexican-American labor icon, Cesar Chavez (m. 1948)
    Affiliated with the United Farm Workers of America (UFWA), which her husband co-founded, along with Dolores Huerta, in 1962
    Accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom in her later husband's place, awarded to him posthumously in 1994
    Portrayed by America Ferrera in Diego Luna's biopic, 'Cesar Chavez' (2014)
    She rarely appeared or spoke publicly.
    She was arrested for shouting 'Huelga!' and 'Strike!' at the W. B. Camp ranch (1966).
    She has been repeatedly mistaken for Dolores Huerta in photographs (or vice versa), most often in the famous bread-breaking photo with Bobby Kennedy, in 1968.
    Unlike Huerta, she never really challenged the male-dominated atmosphere of the labor movement (her work was limited to copying flyers, book-keeping, and mail-sorting).
    She proudly operated within a domestic sphere even when carrying out her Union activities, usually doing the work after her domestic chores were finished.
    She made her first public appearance in 1976, according to the Los Angeles Times: '[She] stood under a walnut tree... and shook hands with 150 supporters, all the while looking as if she wanted to bolt.'
    She and her husband were arrested for picketing a cantaloupe field where workers were represented by the Teamsters Union (1978).
    She was very active with the left-wing site, Moveon.org, and started a petition to ban the use of 'the I-word' ('Illegal') to describe undocumented immigrants in textbooks and newspaper articles.
    Her parents were refugees from the Mexican Revolution.
    Her father died when she was fifteen, forcing her to drop out of school to support the family.
    She taught literacy classes for migrant workers during voting drives.
    She assisted immigrants in the process of obtaining US citizenship.
    She took a two-dollar-a-day job picking grapes to support her kids while her husband worked to build the United Farm Workers of America.
    She was frequently left alone to raise her and her husband's eight children, while he was on the speaking circuit.
    She was characterized by friends as reserved in public but a physical force of nature in private.
    She oversaw the regular compilation of the UFW's daily reports (usually dictated by her husband).
    She received the Latina of the Year Award from the National Latino Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles Chapter (2008).
    She and Dolores Huerta appeared with President Barack Obama to designate the Cesar Chavez National Monument Memorial Garden, at her and her late husband's home in Bakersfield (Oct. 2012).
    Her family released a statement to the Associated Press following her death, reading: '[Helen's] consistent humility, selflessness, quiet heroism and fiery perseverance were at the heart of the movement she helped build.'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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