Christine Chavez, Farmworker Coordinator United States Department Agriculture
Christine Chavez, has turned the values passed down to her by her grandfather Cesar Chavez into a lifetime commitment to civil rights, the labor movement and community organizing. She was born in Delano, Calif. 10 years after Chavez founded his farm worker movement in the heart of the state's Central Valley.
She accompanied her parents as a toddler in 1973, to Detroit, Michigan where they volunteered to organize the United Farm Workers' second grape boycott. At age 2 Christine was arrested along with her family by Detroit police for nonviolently picketing outside a supermarket at the behest of the store management, creating a negative reaction in the press and community.
Today, Christine is Farmworker Coordinator for the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. Prior to that she was the United Farm Workers' political director, working to mobilize public support for the civil and labor rights of farm workers and the larger Latino and immigrant community.
Christine once heard her grandfather say, "We don't need perfect political systems, we need perfect participation." Taking those words to heart, she endeavored to master the art of modern day campaigning and community organizing. Christine has helped elect numerous candidates to high office, from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to the speaker of the California state Assembly. Christine campaigned in 2004 for John Kerry's presidential campaign in the state of New Mexico. She served as a surrogate speaker for then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008, traveling to Colorado and Texas during those state's presidential primaries. Most recently, Christine on her own time volunteered in the campaign for the President's reelection in Las Vegas Nevada.
Latina Magazine recently named Christine Chavez as one of the nation's top Latinas for her longtime championing of civil rights issues, particularly her work for marriage equality. She has been recognized by the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for leadership on helping to end discrimination. Last year various women organizations such as the Chicana Latina Foundation of San Francisco and the Rhode Island Women's Fund paid tribute to Christine's dedication and hard work.
Over the years, Christine has also joined workers belonging to the Service Employee International Union in a dispute with L.A. International Airport, a United Food and Commercial Workers strike against California supermarkets and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union as it battled non-union Los Angeles-area hotels. Christine continues working with the Latino and African American Leadership Alliance to bring two historically disenfranchised communities together to forge peace and unity.
She resides in Washington D.C. with her husband Oscar and their dogs Boycott and Buddy.