Cesar Chavez

Tell us what you did
to help Cesar's cause

"Cesar Chavez inspired me!"

My name is Jesus Ybarra Rodriguez, son of Juan and Simona Rodriguez. My father worked the fields as a Bracero during WWII helping feed America as we have always done. I and my brother Timoteo worked the onion and cotton fields of Texas and southern New Mexico ever since we were ten years old during the summers. After high school graduation from Bowie H. S., I joined the military service.then went to college at UTEP. As a Chicano student activist from the 1960’s and early 1970’s I first met Cesar in El Paso, Texas in El Segundo Barrio, where la gente pobre lives. He impressed me by his humbleness and genuine love of farmworkers! This man was different than all the other men I had met up to this time. He was not after his own self interest, but willingly sacrificed his time, family and little resources that he had to help nuestra gente. In a world full of bull shitters, here was a man I could trust and identify with. When I went north to Washington State in 1970, I found sons and daughters of farmworkers such as Lupe Gamboa, Bill Nicacio, Tomas Villanueva, the Trevino brothers, Jesus Lemos, Adrian Moroles, Ricardo Aguirre, Jose Garza, Celedonio Alvares, Josie Jaramillo, Antonio Cardenas, David Cantu, Epi Elizondo, Sally Cantu, Rogelio Riojas and many others who were deeply involved in the farmworker struggle for dignity and fair wages. All knew Cesar and were actively the lettuce and grape boycotts going on nationally. I found my home away from home with them. We all continued to help Cesar and the farmworker struggle for many years through Safeway picketting, University of Washington sit ins to get lettuce and grapes off campus, going out to talk to farm laborers in Prosser, Mapton, Granger and other Yakima Valley agricultural camps. Sometimes ranchers shot bullets at us, sometimes they tried to run over us as we were picketting Safeway stores and sometimes they only insulted us! Cesar Chaves visited Seattle, Yakima, Bellingham and Mt. Vernon, Washington often to encourage and support us. The last time I met him was at an Everett high school theater in the late 1970’s. He never changed his genuine love for the Mexican and American farmworkers and remained as humble as ever! I remember giving him that evening a little Christian tract that showed how to get to Heaven cause I really thought he should go there. As his custom, he thanked me and encouraged all of us to keep up the good fight. That was Cesar Chavez, the man for all seasons!!!!