MALDEF Honors Life of Richard Chavez

MALDEF Honors the Life of Richard E. Chavez, Farmworker Justice Advocate and Civil Rights Hero (Nov. 12, 1929 – July 27, 2011)

Community mourns loss of iconic United Farm Worker leader, brother to Cesar Chavez, and partner-in-life to Dolores Huerta

LOS ANGELES, CA – The civil rights community has suffered a major and heartbreaking loss; Richard E. Chavez, long-time advocate for farmworker and civil rights and brother to Cesar Chavez, has passed away in Bakersfield, California. He was 81.

Richard Chavez lived a rich and full life dedicated to laying the foundations for future generations and building up the community and people around him. By trade, Richard was a carpenter and building contractor; he has been credited with building the United Farm Workers of America’s headquarters at the Forty Acres complex in Delano, California.

And yet Richard laid foundations in our communities and in the civil rights movement that will prove to be stronger and longer-lasting than the concrete and timber that compose the buildings he helped build. Richard joined the United Farm Workers of America as a young man and dedicated the rest of his life to chasing the dream envisioned by him, his brother Cesar Chavez and others of a day in which farmworkers and all Latinos would achieve full access to justice.

Through his tireless efforts seeking greater justice for farmworkers, for Latinos and for all citizens and residents of our country, Richard used his time and talents to help build and sustain a justice and civil rights movement that continues strong to this very day. A symbol of Richard’s contributions, the UFW’s black Aztec eagle symbol – also designed by Richard – continues to fly high as a statement of the enduring impact of Richard Chavez on the movement, the community and the nation. For his life’s work, in 2010 at the Washington, D.C. Awards Gala, MALDEF honored Richard Chavez alongside his partner-in-life Dolores Huerta with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Community Service Award.¡Si Se Puede!

A full biography can be found below.

The following quotes can be attributed to MALDEF leadership, staff, and supporters.

Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel

“Richard Chavez was a gentle and unsung hero of the farmworker and broader civil rights movements. His quiet and reassuring presence will be greatly missed.”

Eva Longoria, MALDEF Board Member, Actor and Activist

“My dear friend Dolores Huerta and her children are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. The impact and spirit of Richard Chavez’ dedication and commitment to the underserved will live forever.”

David Damian Figueroa, MALDEF Vice President of Development and Communications

“Richard was my paisano from Yuma, Arizona and a very dear friend. I will forever cherish all of the times I was privileged enough to spend birthdays and holidays together. He and Dolores Huerta always welcomed me like a member of their family. I will miss him and always remember his incredible zest for life.”

Gina Montoya, MALDEF Vice President of Education and UFW Foundation Board Member

“Richard Chavez was a hard-working champion dedicated to improving the quality of life for farmworkers. He never sought the limelight, but worked tirelessly to support and serve farmworkers in whatever capacity he was needed. A behind-the-scenes hero, his life of public service and contributions to our community will never be forgotten.”

Biography – Richard E. Chavez, National Farm Workers Service Center

Richard Estrada Chavez was born November 12, 1929 in Yuma, Arizona. When he was eight years old Richard’s family was forced into migrant farm work when the family farm was lost to taxes during the Great Depression and migrated to California.

As a child Richard worked alongside his family in the fields while also attending over sixteen schools. As an adult Richard established a career as a carpenter. As such he served to establish the Self-help Housing Program with the American Friends Service Committee and served on the State Rural Housing Commission. He was a past president of the Delano Chapter of the Community Service Organization.

In 1966 Richard gave up the security of his carpentry job and joined his brother, Cesar Chavez, as a full time volunteer for the United Farm Workers organizing and fighting for farm worker civil rights.

In his long career with the United Farm Workers, Richard has served in many capacities. From 1972 to 1984 he served as Third Vice-President of the Union. He was in charge of negotiations and field Operations, administering collective-bargaining agreements secured for farm workers through the struggle of farm worker strikes and boycotts. Richard worked on both the grape and lettuce boycotts as the Director of the Detroit, Michigan boycott in 1972-73 and the New York City Boycotts in 1973-74. He also served as Director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Fund, a UFW service program for farm workers and Executive Director of the National Farm Workers Health Group that ran primary health clinics for farm workers.

Richard Chavez was the first director of the National Farm Workers Service Center, and continued until his passing to serve the Service Center as a board member. The National Farm Workers’ Service Center builds affordable housing for farm workers and La Campesina, the farm worker radio network.

Richard was a skilled carpenter and building contractor. Many of the UFW offices, clinics and service centers have been designed, built and remodeled by Richard Chavez.

Richard also served on the Board of the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation and attends speaking engagements on behalf of the foundation and the United Farm Workers Union.

Richard Chavez is survived by ten children, seven stepchildren, and three great grandchildren. He lived in Keene, California.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the “law firm of the Latino community,” MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

SALEF 16th Annual Awards and Scholarship Banquet – 10/21/11

Cityhood for East L.A. Community Meetings 7/29, 7/30

Cityhood for East LA... Its Time
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Dear Cityhood Supporter,

As you know, East LA’s Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis (CFA) was released earlier this month. This week you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions about this study from the consultants who prepared it!

Needless to say, this document is long overdue to determine the overall health of our local economy and we’re looking forward to asking some important questions.

LAFCO is sponsoring two community meetings at Esteban Torres High School: Friday, July 29th at 6:00pm and Saturday, July 30th at 10:00am. See LAFCO’s flyers: English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF).

For 38 years, our community has not known the level of services being provided to East LA, or how much money our community generates — basic information that any city budget can tell, and that we as taxpayers deserve to know.

Thanks to collecting thousands of signatures and fundraising several hundred thousand dollars to pay for the process, the board and volunteers of the East LA Residents Association — with YOUR support — have made this step possible.

Now, the CFA is in our hands. And it’s only a starting point.

It’s time to focus on preserving and improving our local economy, and the CFA is helping us start this conversation. This in-person opportunity to ask your questions is unique. Please be there!

Residents, homeowners, and businesses are ready to take charge of East LA’s future — our own future — and this marks an important milestone in our journey.

In Unity,

Benjamin Cardenas
President, East Los Angeles Residents Association (ELARA)

LAFCO’s Community Meetings July 29th and 30th to Review the Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis (CFA)

Download the PDF flyer (English | Spanish)

You can also contact LAFCO at 818-254-2454 or

East LA’s CFA

Download the full Public Review CFA, Executive Summary, and presentation


Cityhood For East Los Angeles |
6055 Gloucester St.
East Los Angeles, CA 90022
United States | Phone (323) 230-8562 | Fax (323) 230-9588

Beating the Odds: High School ‘Dropouts’ Earn Diploma At East LA Program Facing Big Cuts

By Gloria Angelina Castillo, EGP Staff Writer

Published by Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

July 21, 2011

While the 2011 season for pomp and circumstance has already wrapped up at Los Angeles area schools, not until last week did nearly three-dozen students at an East Los Angeles-based academy finally received their diplomas. It was a privilege they thought they forfeited when they dropped out of high school, and one which may not be available to as many students in the future due to federal funding cuts.

Twenty-one-year-old Luz Avila struggled in high school. She attended Garfield High School, Garfield Adult school, another program, and then Cesar Chavez Continuation, but on July 14, she received her high school diploma through LA CAUSA YouthBuild, a non-profit organization and charter school she says allowed her to experience high school, go to grad
night, volunteer; everything “without the drama,” she said.

“I used to be scared to ask questions in class … I would get red because there’s — how many students in each class? Like 25-30 in one class and it’s all cramped, and you try to ask the teachers something but they explain it to you the way they explained it to everybody else,” she told EGP.

The LA CAUSA YouthBuild program “was my second chance. I’m actually going to graduate on stage,” she told EGP before the ceremony.

Sylvia Guerra, who earned straight A’s, is another graduate. She was elected to student government and participated in leadership opportunities locally and in Sacramento during the intense nine-month program.

Both young women want to be nurses and say LA CAUSA helped put them on the track to achieve their dreams.

LA CAUSA YouthBuild students and executive director pose with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis during her visit to East Los Angeles last month. Labor Department has cut the program. (La Causa Youth Build)

Administered by the Inyo County Office of Education, the charter school accepts students ages 16 to 24 who have dropped out of high school. Students receive vocational training in environmentally friendly trades and take college courses with students who took the fast track from high school to college. The multi-faceted program also rehabilitates dilapidated homes and creates leaders out of men and women who accept the responsibility to improve their community, according to school staff.

LA CAUSA students will proudly tell you they’ve created a garden at Humphreys Elementary School, promoted organic produce at a health fair in Atlantic Park, learned to install solar panels, spent time with seniors and have participated in mentoring opportunities.

They are also subject to random drug tests, receive bus-passes whenever needed, learn life-skills and anger management, get help paying for childcare, and even have a school-employee accompany them to court if they have a hearing. Some have Individualized Educational Plans, or IEPs.

Twenty-one-year-old Gabriela Diaz has a 4-month-old infant and says the program gave her the flexibility she needed to care for her daughter. Paula Yanez, LA CAUSA supportive services manager, said Diaz is fiercely motivated.

“I wasn’t a bad student. What messed me up was the overcrowding in the schools. … I got mad because they were trying to give me adult school classes when I didn’t even need them. I was on track with my credits and I didn’t think it was fair. I passed my CAHSEE, I didn’t take them here,” Diaz said, saying a school counselor obstructed her ability to take a lab science class she needed.

While reforms are underway to improve Los Angeles area schools, these soon-to-be-graduates say they were pushed out years before the two new high schools on the eastside opened.

“We don’t feel like we dropped out, we feel like we were pushed out,” said Ramiro Godinez, 21, a former Roosevelt student. Godinez didn’t live near the campus and didn’t always get there on time.

“One time the police gave me a ticket for being tardy. That’s when I felt like they went overboard,” he said.

Twenty-year-old Luis Juarez, an East LA resident and former Garfield student, received his diploma last summer but still attends the campus for job training. This summer he began his second semester at ELAC.

“My teachers are very good here. They help you get your diploma, they get you into college, they help you apply for financial aid, they take their time to help you with your class work, whatever you need to do,” he said about LA CAUSA.

LA CAUSA is located at TELACU’s Corporate Headquarters on East Olympic Blvd, where it has classrooms, construction space and offices all on one site. TELACU offers affordable rent, as well as professionals who volunteer to partner with students in the organization’s mentoring program, according to LA CAUSA staff.

About 25 percent of LA CAUSA students have had some type of interaction with law enforcement or the courts, some are young parents, and the majority come from neighboring schools such as Garfield, Roosevelt, Wilson and Montebello.

“These are students with dreams and aspirations to succeed in life. They are talented and gifted and have much to offer their communities if they are given the opportunity,” Yanez said.

However, LA CAUSA’s primary source of funding through the Department of Labor has been cut.

Originally financed by the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, the program started with assistance from then Congresswoman Hilda Solis who provided space for the YouthBuild program at the Maravilla Service Center in 2003, according to Robert Zardeneta, executive director of LA CAUSA YouthBuild. Ironically, Solis is now the Secretary of Labor.

In May, over 120 YouthBuild programs across the country learned they had lost federal funding through Congressional budget cuts. The funding is administered by the Dept. of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), which awards grants directly to local sponsors of YouthBuild programs on a competitive basis.

The cuts come on top of cuts made in 2010.

Only 228 of the 273 YouthBuild programs in 45 states were funded for 2009 -2011. Only 107 will receive grants this time around, and only one is in LA County in El Monte, according to the National YouthBuild Coalition.

LA CAUSA, whose logo is a raised fist, is not taking things lying down and has joined YouthBuild USA’s national effort to get cuts restored so the programs can continue to serve their respective communities, Zardeneta said.

If another funding source is not secured before the program’s current funding runs out this summer, Zaedeneta says he may have no choice but to layoff five or six employees.

He said LA CAUSA takes pride in the fact that it “hires youth from within our own community,” and it breaks his heart that an organization that strives to give people the skills they need to be in the workforce “could potentially put 5 to 6 residents out of work.

“It’s really hard not to feel like the rug is being pulled out from under us,” Zardeneta said.
LA CAUSA YouthBuild is an outstanding example to other YouthBuild programs, according to Charles J. Clark, Vice President for Asset Development for YouthBuild USA.

“Unfortunately the reduction in the appropriations resulted in many excellent YouthBuild programs” losing their funding, forcing them to come up with other sources of funding until they can compete for the 2012 YouthBuild grants, Clark told EGP.

While LA CAUSA has shared their model with other programs that have gone on to duplicate it in other parts of the country, legislators see it as an expenditure instead of an investment, Zardeneta said.

However, LA CAUSA is not ready to shut its doors, but hopes instead to enroll more students next year with money raised through the launch of a capital campaign being chaired by Emanuel Pleitez, a Stanford Alumni and East LA native who ran for Congress in 2009, said Zardeneta.

To learn more about LA CAUSA YouthBuild, or to participate in fundraising efforts, visit


Apply to the LOFT Actionable Leadership Summit, September 14-15 in Washington, DC

September 14 & 15, 2011

Washington, D.C.—Capitol Hill

The 2011 LOFT Actionable Leadership Summit aims to train and equip young Latino/Hispanic college students to lead in the face of the most imminent challenges confronting the next generation. Hosted by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and the Latinos on the Fast Track program, this inaugural gathering will bring together 50 Latino/Hispanic college sophomores and juniors from around the country for a two-day training in Washington, D.C. on September 14th and 15th, 2011.

About the Summit:

We believe young Latinos possess the intellect, capability, and determination to define a new legacy of leadership and uplift their communities. It is in this spirit we will convene a summit to prepare young Latinos for successful leadership and provide them the opportunity to learn from those who are currently influencing public policy and business in our greater community. Summit participants will attend seminars on relevant policy issues, hear from a select group of experienced leaders from diverse fields, and engage in skill-building workshops focused on communications, fundraising, building networks, and mobilizing others to achieve shared goals.

By hosting the summit in conjunction with the Hispanic Heritage Awards and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, moreover, we aim to bridge the intergenerational divide between established leaders and those who are preparing to take on the mantle of responsibility. Bringing these groups together around a common purpose – the future of the Latino/Hispanic community in the U.S. – will begin an ongoing conversation which will educate, empower, and elevate the level of discourse around the future of the community. This summit will also catalyze a discussion of national Hispanic issues that need to be raised in the 2012 election cycle and beyond. By expanding out from the “traditional” issue that our community has been pigeon-holed with, i.e. immigration, we can get to the root of the needs of our community right now and the needs of our community moving forward into the future.  The issues and topics covered will serve as starting points for engaging with current national leaders and the beginning of a running dialogue for years to come.

The 2011 LOFT Actionable Leadership Summit will take place in Washington, D.C. on September 14th and 15th, 2011. The first day students will engage in leadership training, workshops, and issue-based policy conversations with respected national leaders. The second day will begin with visits to elected officials on Capitol Hill and conclude with participants attending the 2011 Hispanic Heritage Awards Ceremony at the Kennedy Center.

How to Apply:

1)     Fill out this short application. Note you will need to complete this in one sitting, so please plan accordingly. We recommend you preview the application, then copy and paste the short-answer questions (11-13) into a word document. After finishing these on your own, you will be able to go back to the application link and complete it quickly by answering the first 10 questions and pasting in your responses to the short-answer questions (11-13).

2)     Send your resume to A strong sample resume can be found here.

You must complete these three steps for your application to be considered.  The application will close at 8pm EST/5pm PST on Friday, July 29, 2011. All applicants will hear back about their acceptance to the 2011 Leadership Summit between July 29 and August 4.

Ideal candidates for this program:

·     Are committed to personal leadership development and the cultivation of strong leadership across the Latino/Hispanic community

·     Have a clear track record of leadership in their community and/or on their college campus

·     Have a compelling vision for what they can do on their college campus or in their community to promote and encourage Latino/Hispanic leadership


The 2011 LOFT Actionable Leadership Summit application is open to all Latino/Hispanic college students who will be sophomores or juniors in fall 2011. Participants must have at least a 3.0 grade point average. In addition, participants must commit to paying or raising funds for their travel and housing costs, though we will do our best to work with students with limited financial means to ensure costs do not prohibit students from attending.

If you do not attend to apply or are not eligible but have an interest in Latino/Hispanic leadership, please fill out our short, 30-second survey on issues important to the Latino community. This will help us as we develop LOFT programming in the future.

If you have questions specific to the application or the Leadership Summit, please email

Join our Latino online community here: LOFT Social Network and meet LOFT members attending the summit as well as other Latino leaders around the country.

Telenovela Superstars William Levy and Maite Perroni to Host the 25th Hispanic Heritage Awards


Awards ceremony will take place September 15th, 2011 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 28, 2011 – The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) announced today that superstars William Levy and Maite Perroni, Mexican telenovelas’ sweethearts will host the 25th Hispanic Heritage Awards; the annual celebration of Hispanic excellence and premier event of Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. William Levy, a Cuban-born actor, and Maite Perroni, a Mexican actress and singer, have agreed to jointly host the awards show which will take place at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C, on September 15, 2011.

The Hispanic Heritage Awards (HHAs) were established in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and the White House as the official celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which spans from September 15th to October 15th.   Over the last 25 years, the HHAs have grown into one of the most prestigious awards in the United States, honoring Hispanic excellence, leadership, and accomplishments in the fields of Arts, Education, Leadership, Vision, Business, Math & Science, Sports and Legend. The contributions of these individuals have inspired, empowered ad improved the lives of Hispanics in the United States and the world.

“We are delighted and honored that William Levy and Maite Perroni -the most popular and beloved telenovela stars of the moment- have agreed to join us as we celebrate Hispanic excellence and accomplishments.  As embodiments of excellence and accomplishments, both William and Maite have overcome obstacles to achieve great success, while always serving as an inspirational figures, which make them the perfect hosts for this year’s quarter of century celebration,” said María-Esmeralda Paguaga, Executive Producer of the Hispanic Heritage Awards (HHAs).

Paguaga said that the HHAs honorees would be announced soon. The Foundation already has an impressive list of Hispanic leaders nominated in various categories such as arts, vision, science and mathematics, education, leadership, sports and legend. “All of these categories emphasize the quality, breadth, diversity and importance of the contributions of Hispanic Americans, not just in the United States but also worldwide – moving beyond borders and overcoming language barriers,” said Paguaga.

Former honorees of the Hispanic Heritage Awards have included prominent Hispanics, such as Celia Cruz, Oscar de la Renta, Isabel Allende, Carlos Gutierrez, Dolores Huerta, Ellen Ochoa, Ricky Martin, Placido Domingo, Gloria and Emilo Estefan, Jose Feliciano, Tito Puente, Oscar de la Hoya, Cong. Luis V. Gutierrez, Andy Garcia, Edward James Olmos, Mana, Juan Marichal, Cristina Saralegui, Juan Luis Guerra, Alejandro Sanz, Don Francisco, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, and even Dora the Explorer!

The hosts, Levy and Perroni, currently are the stars of the top-rated Mexican telenovela Triunfo del Amor, which first aired last October. The couple had already played the lead characters in the also popular 2008 telenovela entitled Cuidado con el Ángel, which was first broadcasted in Mexico and began airing in the United States in September 2008 on Univision. It averaged 45.7 million viewers per evening.

William Levy Gutierrez was born in Cuba in 1980 and migrated to Miami, Florida, at age 14. He studied business administration on a baseball scholarship, but eventually went into acting and worked as a model.  Since 2005, Levy has started and participated in seven telenovelas.  Levy has won four acting awards and Spanish-language magazines (including People en Español) have listed him several times as  the “most beautiful” and “most sexy” man.   He also stars as Jennifer Lopez’s love interest in her latest music video I’m Into You from her album Love?, launching worldwide on May 2, 2011.


Maite Perroni Beorlegui was born in Mexico City in 1983. In addition to being an actress, she is also a singer-songwriter and gained international fame as a member of the pop group RBD (Rebelde).   She has won several recognitions among them a Premios TVyNovelas, “Best Young Actress in a Leading Role” for her performance in Cuidado con el Angel.   In 2009 and 2010, she topped Los 50 Más Bellos (50 Most Beautiful) list from People en Español. In 2010, her fans and Univision Networks named Perroni as the new “Queen of  Telenovelas.”

About The Hispanic Heritage Foundation:

Established by the White House in 1987, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation is a nonprofit leadership organization that inspires, identifies, prepares and positions Hispanic leaders in the classroom, community and workforce, though its year-round programs:  The Youth Awards, LOFT (Latinos on Fast Track) and the Hispanic Heritage Awards.

For additional information, please visit

Sponsorship Contact:

William Mecklenburg

(305) 586-4433

Media Contact:

JuanCarlos Paguaga

(202) 262-8866

Organization Contact:

(202) 861-9797

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