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Transcript of Cesar Chavez
(1927 - 1993)
Si Se Puede!
It can be done!
Like Martin Luther King Jr., Chavez believed in achieving his goals through non-violence only.
He led peaceful protests, successful strikes and boycotts and used fasting as ways to make his voice heard.
Twice he fasted for 25 days to affirm his personal commitment and that of the farm labor movement to non-violence.
A third fast lasted 36 days.
Cesar Chavez joins the U.S Navy
Chavez and other people from the community trying to get others to vote
Cesar Chavez and his wife Helen Fabela
Born on March 31, 1927
in Yuma Arizona
Son of Juana Estrada Chavez and Librado Chavez (a Farmer, elected postmaster and also ran a general store.
Married to Helen Fabela
Chavez and father of eight
Died on April 23, 1933
in San Luis Arizona
Cesar Chavez, His wife, and six of his Children (1969)
Why We Chose Cesar Chavez
Cesar Chavez will always be an American hero.
He was a civil rights activist, a labor leader, a supporter of non-violent tactics for social change.
Schools, parks, streets and many other public facilities have been named after him.
He stood for justice, equality, and dignity for all Americans.
The Cesar E. Chavez Foundation was established in 1993 to educate people about his great work.
Why We Chose Cesar Chavez
In 2014 a movie was made about the life of Cesar Chavez.
President Obama mentioned Cesar Chavez as a hero and someone we can all take many lessons from.
One of the many lessons we can take from Cesar is to never give up the fight, no matter how hard or how long it may seem to take.
Cesar Chavez will always be an American hero and his legacy will remain a source of inspiration to the world.
Chavez was criticized for a few, rarely mentioned mistakes--ones that in no way change the fact that he was a hero.
When Cesar called for a strike, it was not something that suddenly occurred to him. In fact phillipino farm workers in Delano, California had gone on strike and needed solidarity with the NFWA. That is when Chavez called for a strike, though hesitant because the union had been recently created. The migrant workers had a hard time protesting and having their strike and voice only being heard on farm owner land, as the farm owners had much more money and could afford to pay strike breakers and thier power had the police and justice system in Delano on their side. La Causa (the Cause) had to be made known to a greater audience. Strikers moved out of farmer property and onto the streets of California cities.
During Cesar Chavez's time as leader of the UFW, they dedicated much of their effort to fighting strikebreaking, and exploitation of undocumented workers.
Exploitation of undocumented workers undermined the UFW's cause for US Workers, which led to certain actions being taken, some of them too far.
For example, in their early years, the UFW and Chavez would report immigrant workers to the Immigrations and Naturalization service.
In 1973, the United Farm Workers set up a "wet line" along the United States-Mexico border to prevent Mexican immigrants from entering the United States illegally and potentially undermining the UFW's unionization efforts.
While these actions were meant to be anti-strikebreaking, many saw them as anti-immigration.
The motto by which Cesar lived.
He created the National Farm Workers Organization which fought to improve farm workers' wages and living conditions as well as many other rights and protections.
A Change of Life
Due to the Great depression, Cesar Chavez and his family Lost their farm and were forced To become migrant farm workers
On 1946 (after WWII), Chavez joined the U.S Navy (he served for two years)
He later came back home, married his girlfriend Helen Fabela and soon their family grew with their eight children.
- Through out the time in which Cesar Chavez and his family were migrant workers, Chavez attended more then thirty elementary schools
- He faced many difficulties
in school because teachers taught in English, a language in which he was not that comfortable with.
- He finally graduated from the eighth grade on the year 1942, but instead of continuing on to high school he chose to become a migrant farm worker in order to help support his family
In an attempt to reach out to Filipino-American farm workers, Chavez met with then-president of the Phillipines, Ferdinand Marcos.
While there, he endorsed Marcos' regime, one that had been condemned multiple times for violating human rights, and being a vicious dictatorship. This caused a rift in the UFW, and even led to a resignation.
By the time Cesar Chavez died, he had won many rights for the migrant farm worker. He got them better wages in pay, better housing and safer working conditions. Cesar Chavez teaches the valuable lesson that one person can make a difference.
One Person Can Make A Difference
Bedridden in 1969
In 1969, Chavez was bedridden with severe back pains, unable to even sit up by himself. John F. Kennedy's physician, Dr. Janet Travell, was called to examine him. She explained the the problem was that his left side was significantly longer than his right, a simple thing to fix.
Chavez immediately called his brother, a carpenter, to share the news with him: the same way his brother could fix uneven doors, the doctor could fix him--with a shim.
Chavez had arranged for the whole exchange to be recorded, and in her book
The Crusades of Cesar Chavez
, author Miriam Pawel comments: "It’s such a human scene, and to sit there and listen through headphones, more than four decades later, was sort of incredible. And then to think: Here is a man with such a sense of his own place in history, that as he lies in bed, unable to sit up, he has the presence of mind to turn on a tape recorder to preserve the historic examination by John F. Kennedy’s doctor."
Chavez's organizing and union beginnings
The cotton strike had been called by the National Farm Labor Union, after the pay rate for picking cotton was decreased. It was being part of this strike that gave Chavez a sense of what lack of leadership could mean when organizing. The NFLU suceeded in having the cotton picking pay raised but their bad organization was something that never left Chavez's concious. During this time Chavez attended a trial wherein the NFLU was put on trial, and their chief advesary was Richard Nixon. Nixon made it a point to portray the unionization of farm workers as inherently violent, something that the NFLU did not do much to contest. This is another mistake the NFLU made that satyed with Chavez
Growing up Cesar's father would go on strike when other workers would, even though there was not much money the Chavez money had a sense of solidarity with their fellow farm workers.
Chavez grew up going on strike whenever he or his family felt it necessary, in 1949 Chavez went on a cotton strike in the San Joaquin Valley, while his family went to wrk the grapes.
Community Service Organization
In 1952, Cesar began working for the Community Service Organization, a prominent Latino civil rights group.
During this time, he coordinated voter registration drives and conducted campaigns against racial and economic discrimination.
Chavez however was dissatisfied working with the CSO, as it was run by a committee of people that did not care much about the plight of migrant farm workers, and cared more about petty things that occured in the offices rather than the reports and work Chavez was giving them.
Chavez had at first been inspired to work for the CSO after meeting Fred Ross-a mentor to him and a man that was a well known and amazing community organizer.
The CSO had more to do with stopping police brutality and getting stop signs installed. The CSO was more about the barrios than the farm workers.
La Causa was taken not only to the residents of California but also the American Public across the country. La Causa was brought to the attention of Californians when the strikers went on a 300 mile march. Chavez encouraged other migrant workers across California to join while on foot, and so did others involved with the strike. Chavez encouraged the American Public to boycott buying grapes (the growers of which in Delano where the focus of La Causa) and to boycott stores that sold the grapes from these growers. It took years but the American showed support for the migrant workers struggle. Union Representatives were all over th U.S. aiding in the migrant voice heard. It took a major grape growing company finally negotiating with Chavez and the union and having their grapes sells soaring because if the Union's approval for other growers who had been selling miserably to cave.