Obama: Cesar Chavez ‘an American hero’

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President Obama called the late labor leader Cesar Chavez “an American hero” Wednesday at a White House screening of a new movie about the civil rights activist.

The president said Mr. Chavez, who organized migrant workers and farm laborers beginning in the 1950s, was an inspiration because he understood that persistence brings change.

“That is one of the great lessons of his life — we don’t give up the fight,” Mr. Obama said. “No matter how long it takes, no matter how long the odds, we keep on going.”

The audience of about 125 in the White House screening room included members of the Chavez family, labor leader Dolores Huerta and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. Mr. Obama was introduced by White House aide Julie Chavez Rodriguez, a granddaughter of Mr. Chavez, who died in 1993.

The president drew a parallel between Mr. Chavez’s life and some of the issues on Mr. Obama’s agenda, such as raising the minimum wage and approving comprehensive immigration reform.

“We’ve got a lot of causes that are worth fighting for,” Mr. Obama said.

The president didn’t stay to watch the movie, saying he had a copy to watch later in the residence.

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