WASHINGTON – Civil rights and labor leader Cesar E. Chavez was honored here Sept. 18 as a stamp in his honor was unveiled. The stamp’s unveiling was attended by members of Congress, labor and civil rights leaders.

“For America’s working families, Cesar Chavez signifies enormous hope in the face of daily struggle,” said John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO. “A stamp in his honor challenges us to remember that his life’s mission is not over until every worker has a living wage, adequate health care and dignity on the job.”

The legacy of Chavez, a founder of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), is celebrated as an official state holiday in California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, as well as in dozens of cities and counties throughout the nation. The stamp will be incorporated into programming and events around Cesar Chavez Day 2003. The stamp will be issued in April of next year, to coincide with the 10th anniverary of Chavez’ death.

UFW President Arturo Rodriguez said that “it is well to remember that you can’t honor the man without honoring his work. The greatest monument to Cesar Chavez is the union he built and the courage to work for change that he inspired in his own people. Those of us who succeed him are more committed than ever to finish the unfinished work of Cesar Chavez.”

Chavez’ work transcended any one movement or cause. He inspired millions of Americans to seek social justice and civil rights for the poor and disenfranchised. He advocated for nonviolent social reform. He was an environmentalist and labor leader. Ultimately, he forged an extraordinary and diverse national coalition of students, consumers, trade unionists, religious groups, women and minorities.