The Grapes of Ross


Peter DreierE.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics, Occidental College

The Grapes of Ross

Posted: 02/25/2013 9:26 am

Many Americans know that Barack Obama spent three years as a community organizer in Chicago, but hardly any Americans know about Fred Ross Sr., perhaps the most influential community organizer in American history.

A diverse coalition of activists, clergy, and public officials are now trying to remedy that situation by asking Obama to award Ross posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award. More than 150 volunteer organizers in 20 states have been rallied to build the grassroots campaign by Fred Ross Jr, — Ross Sr.’s son and veteran organizer in his own right — with the help of Eileen Purcell, a nationally respected social justice organizer for more than 30 years.

Why now? It is time to honor this unsung hero and to recognize, by extension, all organizers who continue his legacy working for social and economic justice. Read more

California bishops laud dedication of national monument to Cesar Chavez


California bishops laud dedication of national monument to Cesar Chavez

Monday, October 8, 2012

KEENE, Calif. (CNS) — California’s Catholic bishops said they were grateful that a national monument was being dedicated to farmworker labor leader Cesar Chavez, who “was profoundly influenced by Catholic social justice teaching.”

Chavez, who co-founded the United Farm Workers union in 1962, “strived to be a good disciple of the Lord Jesus by bringing the kingdom of God to the vineyards, fields and groves of America,” they said in a statement released Oct. 3. The dedication was Oct. 8. Read more