Cesar Chavez

Tell us what you did
to help Cesar's cause

"Working under UFW contract"

Working under UFW contract

My mother’s story Maria Salazar begins from the roots we carry from my grand mother and grand father who fought alongside Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa to win land for those who worked it. My mother was born in Mexico in 1921 as Maria Camila Gonzalez. She believes that helping others like her parents did in a united effort is the only way to make our lives better. Being non violent like Cesar Chavez believed was even better. She crossed the border into Texas and later moved to Fresno County, California. My mother worked as a farm worker until she retired. In 1968 when Cesar Chavez broke the 25 day fast my mother took all of us to see this great man that everyone was talking about. It was a moving moment for my mother that helped shape her life. When the UFW won contracts in 1970 my mother worked as a farm worker under contract with Roy Smiths a grape grower in Fresno County. For the first time in her life, my mother was treated better by the growers and crew bosses, the wages she made were much better, she had rest periods, restrooms located near by, cool drinking water with paper cups, a health plan and a pension plan. In 1973 when the growers refused to renew the contracts my mother joined the strikes and encourage us and many people to do the same. The judges friendly to growers passed laws to prevent the strikes. Thousands of farm workers along with my mother were jailed. Through out my mother’s life she has volunteered to help the UFW in strikes with major growers in Fresno county, boycotts and propositions that took her to help in cities such as San Francisco and Las Angeles, marches throughout the state, helped elect politicians who are friendly to UFW. On one occasion in 1975 my mother hosted Cesar Chavez at her house. My mother was honored to have such a great man in her house to eat dinner she prepared for him. My mother’s efforts continued until the time she could not walk very well. About the time my mother turned 64 years old I convinced her to retire. She applied for her pension from the UFW and to this day she still receives this great benefit. My mother turned 90 last July 2011 and we look forward to spend many more birthdays with her.