[Congressional Record Volume 155, Number 164 (Thursday, November 5, 2009)]
[Pages H12400-H12401]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                      CESAR E. CHAVEZ POST OFFICE

  Mrs. DAVIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules 
and pass the bill (S. 748) to redesignate the facility of the United 
States Postal Service located at 2777 Logan Avenue in San Diego, 
California, as the ``Cesar E. Chavez Post Office''.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                                 S. 748

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       (a) Redesignation.--The facility of the United States 
     Postal Service located at 2777 Logan Avenue in San Diego, 
     California, and known as the Southeastern Post Office, shall 
     be known and designated as the ``Cesar E. Chavez Post 
       (b) References.--Any reference in a law, map, regulation, 
     document, paper, or other record of the United States to the 
     facility referred to in subsection (a) shall be deemed to be 
     a reference to the ``Cesar E. Chavez Post Office''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
California (Mrs. Davis) and the gentleman from California (Mr. Bilbray) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California.

                             General Leave

  Mrs. DAVIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that 
all Members have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from California?
  There was no objection.
  Mrs. DAVIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I now yield myself such time 
as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to encourage passage of S. 748, a bill to 
name a post office in the Logan Heights community of San Diego after 
Cesar Chavez.
  I originally introduced this bill, and I am very pleased to see 
Senator Boxer's companion legislation move forward. Cesar Chavez was 
born in Yuma, Arizona, in 1927, and he spent the majority of his life 
advocating for safe working conditions and fair wages for migrant 
  This work of his was driven by a commitment to the principles of 
nonviolence and community building, which has become his legacy. Cesar 
Chavez means so much to my constituents in San Diego because he 
embodied the spirit of our city, a big Navy town.
  In addition to his community activism, Mr. Chavez served in the Navy, 
was a World War II veteran, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal 
of Freedom. Though most well-known for his work with farm workers, in 
San Diego we know him best for his work improving conditions for the 
men and women who worked on fishing boats and in the local canneries.
  Let me tell you a little bit about Logan Heights. Logan Heights is 
actually one of the oldest communities in the City of San Diego, and 
it's a neighborhood rich in Hispanic heritage. Cesar Chavez is a hero 
to the people of Logan Heights.
  Every year the community holds a parade in honor of him on his 
birthday, March 31, which is celebrated in California as a State 
holiday. In fact, many young people devote themselves to service on 
that day.
  In 2003, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative 
postage stamp to honor Cesar Chavez. A post office named in his honor 
in our community would be a lasting tribute to his legacy and symbolic 
of how one person can truly make a difference.
  Please join me in recognizing an American hero and honoring the 
community of Logan Heights.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BILBRAY. Mr. Speaker, I have no speakers at this time, and I 
reserve the balance of my time.
  Mrs. DAVIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to my friend 
and colleague from California (Ms. Zoe Lofgren).
  Ms. ZOE LOFGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, it is a great honor to be 
able to be here today to urge passage of this bill. Especially for 
those of us who personally knew Cesar Chavez, it has a special meaning.
  Every year in San Jose, on Cesar's birthday, we walk from Cesar 
Chavez School on the east side to Cesar Chavez Plaza, which is right in 
the heart of San Jose.

                              {time}  1500

  Many of his relatives continue to live in San Jose, and in fact he 
did his first organizing about eight blocks from my home in San Jose. 
So it is with a great deal of pride that people in San Jose, 
California, endorse and support the idea of this post office, even if 
it is in San Diego, not in San Jose.
  We would just like to say that it is an honor to be supportive of his 
memory. We think of him often. He was a leader who brought people 
together, and I will give just one example. We have the Mexican 
Heritage Plaza in San Jose that sits on the site of the Safeway that 
was the object of the first organizing effort on the grape boycott that 
Cesar Chavez led. One of the major contributors to that plaza is 
Safeway. So he managed actually to bring people who were in opposition 
together and made for a more peaceful and a more just world.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this tribute to him.
  Mr. BILBRAY. Mr. Speaker, I reserve my time.
  Mrs. DAVIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 3 
minutes to my colleague and friend from San Diego, Mr. Filner, who, by 
the way, actually represented this district and had carried similar 
  Mr. FILNER. I thank Mrs. Davis. As she said, I represented this area, 
Logan Heights, for 10 years in Congress. I want to thank her for 
picking up the banner and doing something that the community really 
wants and understands as a clear incentive and appropriate honor that 
children in the area and other members will look to Cesar Chavez as 
their hero.
  When I was a graduate student at Cornell University studying history, 
I had a colleague in the department of philosophy who was doing a Ph.D. 
thesis on the nature of saintliness, what constitutes a saint 
throughout history. The only American figure that he could find really 
to exemplify his notion of saintliness was Cesar Chavez. And it was not 
just because Chavez was an advocate of some of the most oppressed 
members of our society, farm workers, seasonal workers, but in the 
manner in which the he approached politics.
  I marched with Cesar. I knew him. He approached politics with an air 
of humility and contemplation, and, of course, nonviolence. The marches 
he undertook, the boycotts, the hunger strikes, all were done in a 
spirit that he was going to serve the people that he represented. He 
was their servant, and he exemplifies the notion of being a servant to 
those people in the most

[[Page H12401]]

calm, nonviolent way that you can imagine; and people around him, and 
as his movement grew, were inspired by this incredible saintly manner 
that he exemplified and practiced.
  He was a politician, yes, and he organized the farm workers. He 
organized boycotts. He had great victories for organizing and 
unionizing farm workers in California and other parts of the Nation. 
But it was the manner in which he did this, the calmness, the 
nonviolence, the sense that he could take all of these indignities and 
all the pressure and oppression, and respond in a positive way.
  I think that is what influenced so many people, and why this honor 
that Mrs. Davis is sponsoring today is so important, to name a post 
office in the Logan Heights Community that really were his 
  Mr. BILBRAY. Mr. Speaker, just to close, I yield myself such time as 
I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, there is a lot about Cesar Chavez that a lot of people 
don't remember. The fact is that he was a decorated naval veteran. 
Also, they don't remember that Cesar Chavez was probably a good, well, 
20 years ahead of his time. In fact, Cesar Chavez in 1969 led the first 
march on the Mexican border to protest illegal immigration. He was 
accompanied by Walter Mondale and Ralph Abernathy at that time to alert 
all to the problems that were equating with illegal immigration at that 
  In fact, in 1979, Mr. Chavez, testifying before Congress, pointed out 
that when farm workers strike and their strike is successful, the 
employers go to Mexico and have unlimited, unrestricted use of illegal 
immigrants to break our strikes. He also pointed out that the employers 
used professional smugglers to recruit and transport human contraband 
across the Mexican border specifically to break the union strikes of 
the farm workers.
  I think as we recognize him, we understand that history does repeat 
itself. Years and years later, 20 years later, there were those raising 
the issue of the impact on the working class by illegal immigration, 
but first and foremost there was Cesar Chavez at the Mexican border 
saying illegal immigration is hurting us more than anybody is willing 
to admit and that the growers and the wealthy were benefiting from the 
exploitation of illegal immigration. History will show that Cesar 
Chavez was right and brave to stand up in 1969, and we should be doing 
the same today.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mrs. DAVIS of California. Mr. Speaker, before closing, I include for 
the Record this letter from the council president of San Diego, Mr. Ben 
Hueso, who also is celebrating and encouraging us to support this post 
office for Cesar Chavez in the community and recognizing what a hero he 
is to the people.

                                        The City of San Diego,

                                   San Diego, CA, October 6, 2009.
     Hon. Susan A. Davis,
     House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Ms. Davis: Cesar Chavez is a hero in my community, so 
     I heartily endorse the proposal that the United States Postal 
     Service facility located at 2777 Logan Avenue, San Diego, be 
     renamed the Cesar E. Chavez Post Office in his honor. Though 
     he passed away in 1993, this union leader's accomplishments 
     continue to impact the quality of life for farm workers and 
     other laborers.
       I am happy that you have sponsored H.R. 1820 to effect this 
     change, and that the bill has 15 House cosponsors. I am not 
     surprised that support for the redesignation of the post 
     office is widespread. This proposal was unanimously endorsed 
     by the Senate in August, cosponsored by Senator Barbara 
       Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to 
     support your effort to honor Cesar Chavez.
                                                   Benjamin Hueso.
                                                Council President.
  Mr. Speaker, I also wanted to mention in closing, I mentioned the 
fact that we have a holiday in California that young people devote to 
service. I think what is so really engaging about that particular 
holiday is that we have young people throughout the community that are 
so eager to carry on his legacy. They do it throughout the community in 
multiple ways, with the environment, educating others, educating their 
peers and going into schools and preschool centers to really feel that 
they are part of his legacy and to speak to the students.
  To see the way that they really tell you so proudly of the 
experiences that they have had in his memory is very, very appealing; 
and I think it is continuing to make a difference in the lives of young 
people in San Diego today.
  With that, I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting S. 748.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentlewoman from California (Mrs. Davis) that the House suspend the 
rules and pass the bill, S. 748.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.