The rousing cry of ¡Si, se puede! (Yes, it can be done!) rocked the world in 1972, when labour leader and civil rights activist César Estrada Chávez and his United Farm Workers Union co-founder, Dolores Huerta, came up with the slogan to champion their revolutionary causes. Today, the César E. Chávez National Monument tells the story of Chávez’s life and pays tribute to his leadership and nonviolent protests, which brought sustained international attention to the low pay and often inhumane working conditions of U.S. farm workers.
Appropriately, the tribute site is known as La Paz, or peace. Located about 30 miles south of Bakersfield, it’s set on a historic ranch near the National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark/California Historical Landmark at Tehachapi Loop; the property contains a visitor’s centre, memorial rose and cactus gardens, and a fountain-framed gravesite for Chávez (who died in 1993) and his wife Helen, plus their two loyal dogs.
Start in the exhibit hall, where Chávez’s office is preserved with piles of paperwork atop his ornately carved wood desk. The hall also boasts a rickety shack made of rusted corrugated metal and weather-warped wood as a shocking example of the deplorable housing common for farmworkers during the 1960s.
The photography archive is impressive as well, detailing Chávez’s efforts that showed, indeed, ¡Si, se puede! In 1975, the Golden State passed the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, as the first law in the U.S. to recognise farm workers’ collective bargaining rights.
California’s heartland offers up one of the state’s most authentic and sensory rich experiences, a chance to see and taste the state’s bounty at every turn. Follow oak shaded country roads to farm stands overflowing with fresh produce and meander along wine trails to some of the state’s most productive vineyards and low key tasting rooms.
Peaches, plums, apricots, and tomatoes. Just some of the ultra fresh produce you will find at farm stands throughout the valley.
Throughout the broad valley, stretching for over 400 miles down the middle of the state, are cities and towns rich with history, international culture, and 'everyone’s welcome' charm.
The Tehama Trail is a surprisingly fertile area—a prime place for farms and ranches. Many invite visitors to stop in and buy fresh produce, artisanal olive oils, and other local food products.
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