“As the daughter of a farm-working father…thank you, Mr. President,” Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said.
While President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were partaking in the Inauguration ceremony, White House officials were transforming the Oval Office.
The process was basically out with the old, in with the new. Among the new decor inside the Oval Office is a bronze bust of Mexican-American César Chávez, which sits right behind President Biden’s desk and overlooks pictures of his family.
Latinos praised the tribute to the late leader of the United Farm Workers Union, who died in 1993. It’s important to note that Julie Chávez Rodríguez, César Chávez’s granddaughter, will serve as Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Biden administration.
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“An extraordinary shift— from Andrew Jackson to Cesar Chavez— surrounds a bronze likeness that traveled from the Cesar Chavez National Monument to the Oval Office,” United Farm Workers said on Twitter.
Paul F. Chávez, son of César and the president of Chávez Foundation, called the bust of his father “a symbol of the hopeful new day that is dawning for our nation.”
Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas) said the inclusion of the César Chávez bust in the White House shows the commitment of the new administration to hear the voices of Latinos.
“With farmworkers on the frontlines of COVID, risking their lives to feed all Americans, this symbol is a powerfully important reminder of who we’re fighting for,” Rep. Castro tweeted. “Working people have a champion again in the White House.”
According to reporter Rebecca Plevin, the bust had been previously on display in the visitor center of the César E. Chávez National Monument. She said that the President’s transition team requested the artwork.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero tweeted, “As the daughter of a farm-working father and proud member of @UFWupdates, thank you, Mr. President. And THANK YOU to all of the #EssentialWorkers working in the fields to keep America fed.”
Among other notable artwork and busts in the president’s Oval Office are a portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt, paintings of former President Thomas Jefferson and former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, busts of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Rosa Parks, and Eleanor Roosevelt, and a sculpture depicting a horse and rider by Allan Houser of the Chiricahua Apache tribe.
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“This Oval is an Oval for Day One,” Ashley Williams, the deputy director of Oval Office operations said to The Washington Post. “It was important for President Biden to walk into an Oval that looked like America and started to show the landscape of who he is going to be as president.”