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Phoenix City Council Unanimously Approves Street Signs To Honor Cesar Chavez

New signs will be coming to a major street in south Phoenix. The City Council unanimously approved adding ceremonial signs along Baseline Road to honor Cesar Chavez.

During Tuesday's council meeting, his grandson, Alejandro Chavez, reflected on how that protest sparked a famous phrase.

"You know, ‘Si se puede’ was coined here but they were just words until the people of Phoenix started to uplift it in energy and make it happen and turn those words into a movement,'" Alejandro Chavez said. 

In 1927, Cesar Chavez was born in Yuma. He died nearby in 1993. Throughout most of his 66 years, Chavez fought for civil rights and better wages and working conditions for farmworkers. 

In 1972, as president of the United Farm Workers of America, he went on a hunger strike in Phoenix to protest a state law banning farm workers from organizing. During his 24-day fast, Chavez made Santa Rita Center near 10th Street and Buckeye Roadhis base of operations. Today, the small building is owned by Chicanos Por La Causa and is on the Phoenix Historic Property Register.

President Bill Clinton awarded Chavez a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 1994.

If the City Council approves, Phoenix will add blue ceremonial signs at 23 intersections that will read: Cesar Chavez Boulevard. The signs would appear right under signs for Baseline Road from 75th Avenue to 48th Street. The estimated $17,200 cost would be covered through funds available in Council District 7’s office budget.

In 2015, Phoenix installed ceremonial signs honoring another civil rights leader. Along Broadway Road in south Phoenix, there are 32 blue signs that read: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.