Cesar Chavez

Tell us what you did
to help Cesar's cause

"Serving UFW Boycott House in Washington, DC"

Serving UFW Boycott House in Washington, DC

When I came to Washington, DC as the result of getting a job with the federal government in late 1972, I learned about the UFW Boycott House that coordinated boycott efforts in the Metropolitan region.  I knew about UFW activities from my brother-in-law, Ruben Diaz, who worked for the AFL-CIO in California and he was helping the UFW organize its roots in the State.  When in California in the mid-60’s I had gone on one of the marches of the UFW with Ruben.  Given this background, volunteering with the D.C. Metro Region UFW Boycott House was an easy connection to make.  We picketted Safeway and lettuce and grapes and held community meetings to coordinate support for the boycott.  The Boycott House headquarters was where Cesar Chavez and his senior staff would stay.  Once when Mr. Chavez was visiting D.C., several of us acted as his “bodyguards” since at the time his life had been threatened and so we had two or three cars with him in one of them to go to places he needed to be like the radio and television stations in the area.  One night when I had watch in the House kitchen, Mr. Chavez came to get something to eat or drink and we had a very pleasant conversation for about 10 to 30 minutes.  It was a long time ago so I am not sure of the length, but it was a comfortable conversation about the area and where I was from—just a friendly exchange.  He noticed I was somewhat nervous and made me feel more relaxed as we spoke.  He knew my brother-in-law and mentioned that Ruben was very helpful regarding the UFW development.  Cesar Chavez was a man of great charisma that shown thru in casual conversation and his thought processes.  His focus was on helping others and that’s what he used his skills and innate talents to do.  Even great men have ordinary moments.