President Obama, during a campaign trip in California, designated the former home and headquarters of United Farm Workers labor activist César Chávez as a national monument on October 8. The site formally designated as the César E. Chávez National Monument sits on the 187-acre property in Keene, California, known as Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace), or simply La Paz. The monument encompasses 105 acres of the property and is the fourth site Obama has designated under the Antiquities Act, which gives the president authority, by executive order, to restrict the use of public land owned by the federal government.
A writer for Yahoo! News commented on the political ramifications of the dedication:
Obama's move, with less than a month to go before Election Day, could have political repercussions: The Democrat is counting on Latino voters to rally behind him to defeat Mitt Romney. It could also burnish his credentials with labor and environmental groups that have not always been happy with the president.
An AP report in the Boston Globe observed:
The action could shore up support from some Hispanic and liberal voters for Obama, whose 2008 ‘‘yes we can’’ slogan borrowed from Chávez’s motto, ‘‘Si, se puede.’’
Obama both opened and closed his remarks at the dedication with the “¡Si, se puede!” slogan, and the audience responded enthusiastically in kind.
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President Barack Obama walks with César Chávez's widow Helen F. Chávez, left, and Dolores Huerta, Co-Founder of the United Farm Workers, as they tour the César E. Chávez National Monument Memorial Garden, Oct. 8, 2012, in Keene, Calif.: AP Images