Thursday, March 27, 2008

El pueblo unido jamás será vencido

The people united will never be defeated!

Monday, March 31 is observed as Cesar Chavez Day, at least in the states of California, Texas, Arizona and Colorado. It is the first and only holiday in the United States to honor the legacy of a Mexican American. And unfortunately, it is a holiday that many pubic school districts in these four states chose not to observe, much less teach their students about—especially sad in the Los Angeles School Unified School District, which has a considerable Latino student population.

I first learned about Cesar Chavez in my first year in high school. I would love to say that I learned about his civil rights activism, approaches to nonviolent resistance, and campaign for labor rights through some cool, hip teacher fighting the monotony of high school education books. But, that was not the case. I learned about the United Farm Workers, Dolores Huerta, the Delano grape fruit boycott, and Cesar Chavez's approaches to nonviolent resistance through an array of library books I devoured over the course of the summer. By the time I had returned to school, I had written what I thought was one bad ass research paper on his legacy, which earned me a top grade in the class. Not bad for my growing nerd status.

Celebrate Cesar Chavez Day this weekend. Click here to learn more about his work as an activist. March this weekend in the recognition of his life's work, click here to find an event near you. And sign this petition to transform Cesar Chavez Day into a national holiday.

By the way, Cesar Chavez didn't do it alone. Let's not forget Dolores Huerta's work as co-founder of the United Farm Workers and her continued activism for civil rights.


Morose said...

nor can we forget philip vera cruz and other non-latino farm workers.

Gee said...

Yes! great point, morose! Filipino labor leaders, such as Philip Vera Cruz, played a pivotal role in the Delano grape strike, which helped build the farm workers movement and the UFW.