Cesar Chavez

Tell us what you did
to help Cesar's cause

"Marching with the UFW"

As a freshman in 1974 at Stanford University, coming from a working class family from El Paso Texas, I was very eager to help with the UFW worker’s movement.  Friday nights I would spend in front of a local liquor store with a sign in hand, asking people to shop at another liquor store that did not carry gallo wines.  This then lead me to participate in the march that took place in the Spring of 1975.  If my memory holds true, this march started in San Francisco or Sacramento winding it’s way down the Central Valley to I believe Delano.  We would march about 20 miles a day and then stop.  Each evening a mass would be said, generally followed by a performance by Teatro Campesino, dinner, then followed by a speech by Cesar Chavez.  This was absolutely wonderful. Listening to Cesar Chavez was always an inspirational event and gave such encouragement to why we were there and to what we were striving for, simply said, justice for farm workers.  We would then find a sponsor from the area that allowed us to spend the night on their floor before getting up again in the morning to do it again.  This march started on a Sunday. 
At first there were just a few of us, each day more and more people joined in the march.  In the beginning what was unique, was that those few of us were able to march right next to Cesar Chavez and the likes of other celebrities.  I will always remember walking for several miles next to Joan Baez, her carrying her guitar, singing with her as we marched to the next site.  What an experience.  I also remember Safeway trucks roaring by as we marched, trying to be threatening, but we continued along, again daily growing in size.  When we reached the final destination in Delano I believe, that Saturday morning, the final march included probably over two hundred thousand people.  It was impressive and again we were rewarded at the end of the march, being able again to listen to Cesar Chavez speak. This was the march that broke the grower’s back and later that year the union was able to sign their first contract.  It was wonderful and an incredible experience for me to be able to participate in the historic march.  I look back at that march and my participation with the UFW as instrumental in helping me decide what I wanted to do with my life, working as a Physicians Assistant in underserved medical areas.