2:56 PM EST

Susan Davis, D-CA 53rd

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,

SECTION 1. CESAR E. CHAVEZ POST OFFICE.

(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 Office''.

(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''.

2:56 PM EST

Susan Davis, D-CA 53rd

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 workers.

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.

2:59 PM EST

Zoe Lofgren, D-CA 16th

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: 15:00]

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.

3:01 PM EST

Bob Filner, D-CA 51st

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 constituents.

3:01 PM EST

Bob Filner, D-CA 51st

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 constituents.

3:04 PM EST

Brian P. Bilbray, R-CA 50th

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 time.

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.

3:06 PM EST

Susan Davis, D-CA 53rd

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 Boxer.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to support your effort to honor Cesar Chavez.

Sincerely,

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.