Happy birthday, Cesar Chavez

Mar 31, 2011 Happy birthday, Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez: A champion for the empowerment of workers and immigrants.

Happy birthday, Cesar Chavez.

For years, I have seen Mr. Chavez — a founder of the United Farmworkers — as a champion of workers and immigrants.

I recently learned about a debate about how open or not Chavez wanted the United States’ borders to be to immigrants. University of Denver Religious Studies Professor Luis Leon claims the following to have been the reality with Chavez on immigration:

Chavez opposed undocumented labor inasmuch as workers were exploited, used to depress wages, and undercut unionization efforts. While he did oppose Mexican guest worker programs he simultaneously campaigned for the legalization of Mexican citizens. But above all, Chavez demanded that the common humanity of Mexican people be recognized and appreciated. He literally gave his life toward this simple goal so one can be fairly certain that he would have protested any immigration policy that dehumanizes Mexicans, such as Arizona’s notorious S.B. 1070.”

Chavez provided a great quote about non-violence: “Non-violence really rests on the reservoir that you have to create in yourself of patience, not of being patient with the problems, but being patient with yourself to do the hard work.”

Here are some videos about and including Chavez:

Brief talk by Chavez, including his getting irritated at one of his questioners, despite his above patience quote.

– Excerpts from the The Fight in the Fields documentary.

– A lengthier segment of The Fight in the Fields.

– A short biography of Chavez, and another one here.

Cesar Chavez also was a fellow vegetarian, which is particularly curious when considering that farm work ordinarily includes animal slaughter, unless the United Farm Workers — which Chavez founded — only dealt with produce farm work.

Happy birthday, Cesar Chavez, Thank you for the personal sacrifices you made for social justice and to better the lives of those who started with little power and influence.

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