Union Jack

     English Wordplay ~ Listen and Enjoy

   CESAR E. CHAVEZ    1927-1993

If all our efforts can be circumvented by importing
people from other countries more cheaply, that is going
to be done for purposes of profit by the farmers

A Mexican American farm worker, labour leader, and civil rights activist, who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers.

His birthday has become César Chávez Day, a state holiday in eight U.S. states.  Many parks, cultural centers, libraries, schools, and streets have been named in his honour in cities across the United States.

The Legacy of Cesar Chavez

Later in life, education became César's focus.  The walls of his office in Keene, California (United Farm Worker headquarters) were lined with hundreds of books ranging in subject from philosophy, economics, cooperatives, and unions, to biographies of Gandhi and the Kennedys.

PETER: When you were young, your hard-working father agreed to clear a man's land so he might purchase the little farm you lived on.  The deal fell through disastrously.
CHAVEZ: The landowner, who was white, thought that my father, being Latino, was uneducated - which, essentially, he was - and that he didn't understand about contracts, and the owner could therefore take advantage of him.
PETER: You passionately believed in educating yourself, didn't you?
CHAVEZ: After the incident with my father, when children of the workers, who lived in the same hovels that we did would come home from school at night, I would quiz them about what they had learned and would get them to help me with reading and mathematics.
PETER: Mahatma Gandhi was a great inspiration.
CHAVEZ: From him I drew the knowledge, the acceptance, and the energy that the peaceful person with quiet determination and just a little bit of rebelliousness (all right - a lot of rebelliousness!) can move nations.
PETER: You led three hunger strikes, one of 36 days.  Did they take a toll on your health?
CHAVEZ: They took a toll on my physical health, but they strengthened my soul's energy.

Toni comments: At the end, when Peter was pushing him about the way that he would react now to what's going on, I felt a sense of his unease - that's kind of strange to say because I usually don't feel unease from a spirit.  It was almost a feeling of "Why do I have to go back and repeat what I've done?  That's somebody else's turf, somebody else's lesson to learn.  I want to move on to something else".


Talking with Twentieth Century Men
The foregoing are excerpts from Talking with Twentieth Century Men.
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