Cesar Chavez

Tell us what you did
to help Cesar's cause

"What My Parents Did for Social Justice"

What My Parents Did for Social Justice

My late father and my mother were very active in the Sanctuary movement throughout the 80s in Tucson.  In that role they regularly interacted with members and friends of the UFW. Later they were active in various groups still active and involved in efforts to provide water in the desert, fundraising, and my mother coedited a book about the Sanctuary movement.

When growing up, my father was quite active in civil rights related actions - including nonviolent civil disobedience. He was arrested more than once in front of the White House and in several other cases.  He was a passionate peace activist - as a WW II veteran he witnessed horrific situations that led him to that position.  As you might imagine, Cesar Chavez was one of the people held in high esteem in my household. 

So I was very happy when offered the opportunity to work with the Farm Worker community nearly two years ago.  While I cannot claim any great credit for the work of the Movement - I can tell you that the legacy of Cesar Chavez and the other Movement leaders still resonates strongly in places one might not expect. 

So I want to close with one example - about 18 months ago there was a poll of the residents of the area in Northeast Portland, Oregon, to select the name of an elementary school.  This area of Portland is a mix of racial and ethnic backgrounds - and by no means is dominated by Hispanic Americans.  But over 75% of the neighborhood resoundlingly chose Cesar Chavez as the preferred name for this school - even over other worthy possibilities.  There was no overt campaign, no funding, no political group that ;promoted this idea - it was simply that the legacy of Cesar Chavez was strong enough that a majority of the population in this area voluntarily endorsed naming the school in honor of Cesar.  Since I lived in the Portland area for 16 years I can tell you that this is a sign that the continuing work of the Movement is paying off in ways that even the most dedicated Movement leaders can always see.

So while this story is supposed to be about what I did for farm workers - you will forgive me for instead telling you a story about what the UFW has done for me and many others who you may not know.  Thank you.