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Obama: ‘Today We Celebrate Cesar Chavez’

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US President Barack Obama speaks at the establishment of the Chavez National Monument October 8, 2012 in Keene, California. Obama is on a three day trip where he will campaign in California and Ohio as well as attend the establishment of the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument.  (credit: AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI)

US President Barack Obama speaks at the establishment of the Chavez National Monument October 8, 2012 in Keene, California. Obama is on a three day trip where he will campaign in California and Ohio as well as attend the establishment of the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument. (credit: AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI)

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KEENE, Calif. (AP) — President Barack Obama has designated the home of Latino labor leader Cesar Chavez as a national monument.

The 187-acre site, known as Nuestra Senora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace), or simply La Paz, served as the planning and coordination center of the United Farm Workers of America starting in 1971. It’s where Chavez and many organizers lived, trained and strategized. Chavez taught farmworkers, most of them poor and Latino, how to write contracts and negotiate with growers for better pay and working conditions.

Obama toured the site near Bakersfield, Calif., on Monday and said “today, we celebrate Cesar Chavez.”

Obama called Chavez a determined advocate for the poor and disenfranchised.

Designation of the monument could help Obama shore up support from some Hispanic and progressive voters.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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