Cesar Chavez

Tell us what you did
to help Cesar's cause

"Viva la Guelga en el Fil"

Viva la Guelga en el Fil

I’m originally from Watsonville, CA, born to immigrant parents from Mexico.  My father a campesino worked for the BudAntle lettuce company in the 70s and 80s; he supported Cesar because the personal struggles a campesino suffered were close Cesar’s heart.  My mother, a devoted house wife and promoter of social justice raised us 7 children to be part of a movement. The movement the Cesar taught his people to believe in.  My mother and father dedicated their lives to make their work count and not be taken for granted.  Growing up in a household of campesinos we often heard how important it was not to give up the fight and to never lose faith.  I grew up boycotting the Gallo wine and going on long marches over night.  My mother (Brijida Reyna) was a relief driver for those that were on the marches.  She would carry water and sandwiches in a 1960s white rambler car and would provide food and drink for those that were tired of marching.  She had the privilege of sewing the flags for the boycotts and would help the families by keeping them focused.  I often heard dinner table conversations regarding the work Cesar was doing.  I remember my mother praising Cesar because if it were not for him the hoe used to clean the beat fields would be 24 inches.  Cesar fought to change the size of the hoe so the field workers could do their job but standing up-right vs kneeling over with your back bent for more than 8hours! My memories of boycotting at the young age of 8 have kept me grounded all my life.  The experience of standing up for a social justice issue in a peaceful demonstration had given me inner strength of hope, pride, and strong will.  I remember chanting with my parents-Viva la guelga en el fil, viva la causa & la historia no nos vamos a rendir cuentaremos nuestra historia- Que viva Cezar Chavez, Que viva, Que viva la Virgen de Guadalupe, Que viva.  Holding hands with strangers and having a common goal and looking at my parent’s eyes and seeing their determination only solidified who I was as a child and helped with my formation as a human being. I had the privilege of meeting Cesar on a couple of occasions in Salinas, California.  I remember Cesar tapping my head and praising me for supporting my parents.  How privileged I consider myself to be because I was part of history.  My many walks in the hot sun and burning soles of my feet left a legacy in California and for generations to learn of “La guelga en el Fil.”