Mar 31, 2015 Happy birthday to Ceasar Chavez – “You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore”
Ceasar Chavez: A champion for the empowerment of workers and immigrants.
Happy birthday, Ceasar Chavez.
For years, I have seen Mr. Chavez — a founder of the United Farmworkers — as a champion of workers and immigrants.
I leaned a few years ago 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.” He also wisely said: You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.”
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.
– A segment from The Fight in the Fields.
– A short biography of Chavez.
Ceasar 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, Ceasar 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.