Cesar Chavez

Tell us what you did
to help Cesar's cause

"Watsonville"

At a very young age my father showed us the importance of the UFW.  Back in the late 70’s early 80’s my father put down his lettuce knife and picked up the UFW flag to join the cause. Fighting for benefits, at the time he was with the Bruce Church comp. in Salinas.  I remember the many marches in northern Calif.  We walked many.  The “caminatas” were quite an event that my family looked forward too, as well as our neighbors from our Watsonville Buena Vista labor camp.  Even though our feet would hurt after long hours of walking, the spirit of solidarity and knowing that we were walking for a just cause kept us going.  After our time in northern Ca ended we would head back to southern C.A. to the Coachella Valley.  I do not need to go into details about the Coachella Valley, the Coachella valley and the UFW have a long history together. Staying involved with the Union was not hard there.  Somehow in the many activities I ended up in front of some TV cameras.  The UFW was taking on a media campaign, and they were recruiting, taking the fight to TV.  I was 10 and not shy, because I knew there was a meaning to this ad, and that was to help your fellow men. See, that is one lesson i learned from Cesar, to help your companero unselfishly, and to sacrifice for your fellow human being. So the ad was recorded in the Coachella and was aired in northern C.A.  I remember it very well.  My family was back in Northern California at the same labor camp in Watsonville.  My father had just sent me to one of the rooms because I had said something mischievous to my sister.  Sitting there thinking how will i get back at my sister for being a snitch, i recognized a very familiar voice on the TV that was already on.  That funny sounding voice as if it came from a relative or someone I knew.  As I peeked through the door towards the small living room.  I saw me on TV!  I was confused! I didn’t know how to react. The ad was a glimpse into the life of the farmworkers, and to remind the workers what we were fighting for and to vote UFW. I stood still! my father stood still and so did my sister.  I knew then that the UFW and Cesar Chavez would be with me for the rest of my life.  Soon after the ad was over, my father came to me and said that I did good. So I thought to myself, “I guess I’m not in trouble anymore”.  Time passed, we continued with the cause. Our family moved to southern California.  My father after 15 years working in the lettuce took a risk and found a stable career in the coachella valley.  It took some adjustment in my part i must admit.  I wasn’t used to staying in one place for so long. Life went on, Cesar would come to Coachella every so often and we would get involved with the struggle, re-living the flame. But, there is one thing I learned from my experience, and every morning when I get up, i ask myself; “What are you going to do for your fellowman?”