Cesar Chavez

Tell us what you did
to help Cesar's cause

"UFWOC AFL-CIO, 1967 in St. Louis"

UFWOC AFL-CIO, 1967 in St. Louis

When the United Farmworkers were an organizing committee (UFOC - AFL-CIO), I was a student at Webster College in St. Louis. It was 1967. Our college sponsored events for important causes. For one of these events, a rep from the AFL-CIO came to campus to show a short documentary on the farm workers’ plight and the conditions under which they worked and lived. I was deeply moved. I convinced the history department to sponsor a sabbatical that allowed me to work with the AFL-CIO and the UFWOC organizing boycotts, getting arrested (with our lawyer a phone call away), speaking on radio programs, organizing students at Washington University and Webster College, doing PR that entailed speaking on radio programs and arranging for Dolores Huerta to come visit and do a local TV program. We even met with women who belonged to the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, who were engaged in the struggle and had their own strategy and ideas about how to run the work. For a short while, I had the opportunity and privilege to partner with Vestuciano, a graduate student, who was committed to the cause.  Together with our AFL-CIO leader, we mounted a successful campaign and made great progress in spreading the word and getting grapes out of the St. Louis supermarkets. It was a high point for me in my young life. As part of my sabbatical, I committed to writing a thesis. Under the guidance of an intelligent, thoughtful, and patient professor, who belonged to the Sisters of Loretto, I wrote a thesis called “Social Justice for Migrant Workers”. I count myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to do this work and with such wonderful people.