First Lady Jill Biden spent time in Delano Wednesday to honor civil rights leader and farm labor activist Cesar Chavez. She was there to take part in a Day of Action, alongside the Cesar Chavez Foundation, the United Farm Workers and the Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force.
After landing at Meadows Field Airport in Bakersfield, she traveled to The Forty Acres in Delano, the historic site where Chavez fasted to draw attention to the labor movement. There, Dr. Biden was greeted by Governor Gavin Newsom, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Congressman Jim Costa and labor rights activist Dolores Huerta and met with farmworkers.
After touring the site, the First Lady gave a speech in which she commemorated Chavez and his legacy.
“The United Farm Workers wasn’t only fighting for better wages,” she said. “It has always been a moral movement - one of justice and humanity for all, but especially for the agricultural workers who are mostly unseen.”
Dr. Biden highlighted President Biden’s goals to pass immigration legislation.
“And that’s exactly the kind of immigration policy he’s working to build - one that treats children and families with dignity and created fair pathways to citizenship, including for essential workers,” she said.
The bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which just passed the House this month, helps agricultural workers earn temporary status and eventually become permanent residents.
She met with farmworkers following the speech. During a roundtable discussion, Dr. Biden listened to six women who talked about discrimination, their struggles to balance work and childcare during the pandemic and the need for unions. The First Lady repeated her and President Biden’s support for unions.
“He is a union person,” she said. “I am a member of the teacher's union. We are a union couple.”
Dr. Biden ended her day handing out vaccine cards to farmworkers who received their COVID-19 vaccine at The Forty Acres.
When asked how her visit was in California so far, the First Lady responded, “Great. Really great. It’s great to see all these people being vaccinated.”