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      César E. Chávez National Monument

      President Barack Obama speaks at the César E. Chávez National Monument, Monday, October 8, 2012, in Keene, CA. (Photo: Robert Garcia)President Obama deepened his ties with the Mexican-American community and legacy on October 8, when he dedicated a US national monument to farmworkers' leader Cesar Chavez at La Paz, in Keene, California. Hundreds of farmworker families and friends attended the official event at the rural headquarters of the farmworkers' movement.

      Other political leaders had visited over the years, most notably Robert Kennedy in 1968 and Jerry Brown several times in the 1970s. The Campaign for Economic Democracy (CED) held organizers' retreats there through the 1980s, and enjoyed a close working relationship with Chavez and farmworker activists. But the visit from an incumbent president was a unique historic occasion of a different order, for it officially as well as symbolically recognized Chavez as an American icon and the farmworkers' struggle into the national story of America's immigrant working class.

      It was an "electrifying" moment, said Robert Garcia, founder of The City Project, expressing the sentiment of many in attendance.

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