In a dinner celebration last year, put on by the local “Community to Community” group to honor Cesar Chavez, children got up and read poems. In one of the poems was the following, “You think that white is right”, with a room full of euro-american supporters of immigration reform and honoring Cesar Chavez, it seemed inappropriate. The mexican women were presented with flowers. I was told I could not sit at the same table with them. I am not mexican, but I am, have been, a farm worker beginning at age ten picking in the fields and working in my adult years in packing sheds. I did not receive flowers, nor was anyone asked if they were farm workers, this was based only on appearance. I didn’t go to the dinner this year.
The gathering seemed to miss something in Cesar’s message. “That’s why today we oppose some of this La Raza business so much. We know what it does. When La Raza means or implies racism, we don’t support it. But if it means our struggle, our dignity, or our cultural roots, then we’re for it. I guess many times people don’t know what they mean by La Raza, but we can’t be against racism on the one hand and for it on the other. ” (Cesar Chavez, La Causa. p123).
The cultural background and history of Cesar Chavez is important. His philosophy of inclusion is also a very important factor for many who supported and support La Causa.