Julie Chavez Rodriguez isn’t the first Latina to work in the White House, but she may be the most famous Hispanic presidential aide in history.
President Barack Obama’s deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement is the granddaughter of farm labor legend Cesar Chavez, and she has assumed the White House mantel that America’s most famous Latino once turned down.
In 1962 President John F. Kennedy offered Cesar Chavez, then a labor and community organizer, a position in his young administration, and he had to weigh long and hard whether to accept that position or start the United Farm Workers of America labor union.
“He was asked to be the head of the Peace Corps in Latin America and he decided rather than he making the decision himself that he was going to ask my aunt and uncle and my mother,” says Rodriguez.
“As the story goes, they all had a secret vote because none of them wanted to have (the responsibility) and all of them voted to start the union except for my youngest uncle, Anthony Chavez, who said, ‘Heck, no, I want to move to Latin America and have a big house!”
Chavez turned down the appointment and that year began what would amount to a long, difficult struggle to organize the nation’s first farm worker union – which took hold in California and of which Julie’s father, Arturo Rodriguez, is president today.
“My grandfather turned down that position because for him founding the union wasn’t just a quick decision that he made,” she said in an interview while director of programs at the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation before joining the Obama administration.
“It wasn’t something that he was even fully confident about.”
“He had a lot of self doubt, and he knew that was such a huge leap of faith, and he wasn’t sure whether or not he would succeed. But for him, he did it anyway because he realized he could not live another day in his life without at least trying.”
Julie, 35, never expected to wind up working in Washington herself. “If someone had asked me five years ago…….
To read full story: http://voxxi.com/2014/04/22/julie-chavez-rodriguez-cesar-chavez/