Cesar Chavez

Tell us what you did
to help Cesar's cause

"Knowing Cesar was the best thing that ever happened to me, besides having my daughters."

Knowing Cesar was the best thing that ever happened to me, besides having my daughters.

I served as a volunteer 1991-1992, a bit over a year. A spanish speaking gringa from Minnesota, I had long wanted to work for the La Causa.  I was 23 when I joined the movement. I lived in Harvard House, then up in Delano and other towns in the Valley. I don’t know where to start as far as telling you how Cesar impacted my life. I have spent my life in social justice work, now in the criminal justice system. I never get out of my head, Cesar saying something to the effect of “if you are not doing work in service to others you’re not doing anything.”  He has been such a part of the course of service work I chose in life. Also, as a young volunteer, I used to watch how Cesar always stayed cool in various situations.  I wanted to be like that. He was centred, forthright, honest, powerful.  I was also always amazed at how he cared about all of us volunteers - taking time to really listen to us, ask us questions about who we were and why we joined the movement.  I try to practice this skill today - to be less self-centered, quieter and a better listener, becasue of what he modeled to me.  So you see, I leaned much more than how to be an organizer, Cesar imparted life skills to me that have supported me in being a better human being in the world.  I know he did this for thousands,  I’ll never forget him and Cecelia droping me off at the UFW office in Calexico, then the two of them heading back north.  I was assigned ot get a LUPE program started down there.  Like we all did I would be crashing at the home of some loving farm workers who had agreed to take me in.  The two of them left, but then about 15 minutes later I got a call from Cesar - he and Cecelia were coming back and they wanted to take me to that Calexico grand old hotel for a margarita and to listen to a trio Cesar liked.  Then they planned to head back north.  I have never forgotten this incredibly kind gesture on the part of both of them, who likely knew I was a bit overwhelmed with my assignment, so they turned back to hang out for an hour or so.  I could go on and on. I guess what I want to say is, all the work I do has been informaed by what the UFW taught me.  I infuse UFW organizing strategies into all I do ( I recall Arturo teaching a bunch of us how to create a “business plan” in the dining room of the Harvard House). But beyond all the good social justice/ organizing strategies - The movement - the farm workers - made me a better more loving person in this world.