Google doodle: Debate over Easter tribute to Cesar Chavez continues

A controversy over Easter Sunday’s Google doodle for California farm labor leader Cesar Chavez shows no signs of letting up.

Sunday was Chavez’s birthday, and Google honored him with a doodle on its home page. Some people have blasted the search engine, saying Easter was the wrong day for such an honor.

But Chavez supporters have praised the move.

PHOTOS: Google Doodles of 2013


Google, meanwhile, explain what happened .“We enjoy celebrating holidays at Google but, as you may imagine, it’s difficult for us to choose which events to highlight on our site,” a Google representative told the Washington Post. “Sometimes for a given date, we feature an historical event or influential figure that we haven’t in the past.”

The debate over the doodle has raged on Facebook and Twitter Sunday and into Monday.

“Google is celebrating Easter with Cesar Chavez. I’m celebrating Easter with Bing,” Rick Wilson, a Florida GOP strategist tweeted, referring to the competing search engine. Wilson later noted that he received numerous comments from Chavez supporters slamming his tweet.

The Daily Caller, a conservative website, weighed in with a story under the headline “Hail Cesar.”

“On Easter Sunday, Google is honoring the birthday of the late labor organizer Cesar Chavez by placing a Chavez portrait within the middle ‘o’ of the Google logo that appears on the home page of the popular search engine,” the Daily Caller reported.

While Google frequently decorates its logo to celebrate various holidays and special events, it is unclear why the company chose specifically to honor Chavez’s birthday, instead of Easter Sunday.

The Google doodle comes several months after President Obama last year visited the Tehachapi Mountains hamlet of Keene to dedicate the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument.

In 2011, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar added the headquarters of the United Farm Workers and Chavez’s residence from 1971 to his death in 1993 to the National Register of Historic Places. The Navy christened the newest cargo-ammunition ship for Chavez, who served in the Navy during World War II.

Obama’s visit came as the struggling United Farm Workers celebrates its 50th anniversary. By the time Chavez died in 1993, the labor leader and his union had been written off by detractors who called them irrelevant in contemporary labor, cultural and political issues.

Google describes its doodles this way: “Doodles are the fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries and the lives of famous artists, pioneers and scientists.”

--Here are stories from a 2006 Times investigation into the UFW and Chavez’s legacy.

--Here is The Times 1993 obituary of Chavez.

--Here is a Times photo gallery: Remembering Chavez

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