Hola companeros! Growing up in the ‘60s I was attracted to and deeply involved in social activism, not just music, sex, and drugs as the right wing media likes to recall. At the time I was a student at the University of the Pacific in Stockton (1967-71) and was appalled at the exploitation and oppression of the Mexican and Filipino farm workers in the area. During my senior year of university, I decided to design and carry out a senior thesis project, so I volunteered to help the union get started in Stockton (1970), support La Causa both in the fields with strikes, and grape and lettuce boycotts with the gringos.
Now a slight tangent: During my sophomore year, as part of my university studies, I lived and studied in India for a year, and during that time there, I spent time at the Gandhi ashram to learn about Satyagraha (non-violent action) from those still around from the revolution and liberation struggle from Britain. It was a most pivotal point in shaping me for life. As result, in my senior year I deeply understood and related to the philosophy and action of Caesar Chavez & UFW. With the union’s entry in Stockton, I started its Department of Non-Violent Action, and wrote my senior thesis on Chavez & UFW/UFWOC as an application of Gandhi’s philosophy in the Western context. I even interviewed Chavez for my thesis and somewhere have the tape cassette! I got university credit for my thesis & graduated! It was another formative experience in my life, making me who I am today—still involved in social activism, still supporting the UFW, y todavia hablando Espanol. Muchas gracias a ustedes!