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On Monday, March 31st, the White House will honor 10 community leaders who embody the spirit of Cesar E. Chavez’ legacy. Each of the Cesar Chavez Champions of Change have committed themselves to improving the lives of others in their communities and across the country. At the core, all of our honorees represent the values and steadfast determination of Cesar Chavez to organize ourselves for a more just tomorrow.
These recognitions are part of the Administration’s effort to celebrate Chavez’ extraordinary commitment to a lifetime of service. At a screening of the new feature film Cesar Chavez, President Obama reflected on Chavez’ legacy stating, “One of the great lessons of Cesar’s life (is) that you don’t give up the fight. No matter how long it takes, no matter how long the odds, you keep going, fueled by a simple creed – si se puede.” As part of the Administration-wide effort to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day, President Obama signed a presidential proclamation calling on all Americans to recognize the birth of one of America’s greatest champions of social justice by engaging in service.
During the Champions of Change event, White House officials will recognize the Champions’ hard work and lead a discussion about how to advance, expand and develop resources and partnerships that will continue to improve the lives of all Americas, including Latinos.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.
The event will be moderated by Lisa Garcia Quiroz, Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Time Warner Inc., and Marco Davis, Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The event is closed to press but will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch this event live, visitwww.whitehouse.gov/live at 10:00 AM ET on March 31st. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program and nominate a Champion, visit www.whitehouse.gov/champions.
Helen Gym, Board Member, Asian Americans UnitedPhiladelphia, PA
Helen Gym is a community and education leader whose work across different organizations supports the right to a quality public education for all children. A former school teacher and journalist, she leads the board of Asian Americans United, a 28-year old organization serving Philadelphia’s diverse Asian American and immigrant communities. At AAU, she has organized against predatory gambling and led a campaign to address human rights issues in immigration and deportation practices. She helped found a Chinatown-based charter school serving many immigrant families and anchored a successful federal civil rights case focused on the responsibility of adults to create safe school environments free from bias and harassment. She is a co-founder of Parents United for Public Education, a citywide parent group that has successfully advocated for millions of dollars in new revenue for Philadelphia public schools. She is a frequent writer and contributor in local media circles; helped establish the city’s independent education newspaper, the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, as its first full-time editor; and is currently on the editorial board of Rethinking Schools, a social justice teaching journal.