Throughout the month, we have highlighted the life and accomplishments of the late César E. Chávez; and this Saturday we are set to honor this man who took the reins of leadership and inspired positive action among thousands of people.
Reflecting on books I have read, documentaries I have watched about César Chávez, and discussion with those who worked with him; a common statement is that he instilled hope in people who thought they had no recourse against the injustices they were facing.
Last Saturday, self-determination took over the country by every living generation taking the faith instilled in them by great leaders such as César, and sent a message that they will not tolerate further violations of their civil rights. In the path of successful justice, people gathered peacefully and with dignity, ignoring the few detractors hoping to incite violent reactions.
In the 70s, the Teamsters hired the Hells Angels to basically attack the farm workers (some died, others injured) and their supporters on the picket lines in California. Despite this action, César Chávez and other leaders continued to support non-violence among their members, and they were eventually successful in launching one of the nation’s largest and most successful boycotts in history.
Today, our people are faced with the hateful antics of minutemen, Tom Tancredo, and other small groups who I can only guess are fearful of change or they are just simply ignorant. Sometimes we can educate the ignorant, but for those who believe their racism is “right” and acceptable, for them you can only offer pity.
Yes, they may have the attention of the monopolized media in this country, but they have not garnered respect from the people of this nation; nor have they broken the spirit of millions of people who know that compassion can overcome ignorance.
The struggles immigrants face today in this country is nothing new. Racism and discrimination fill every history book, even the Bible. Throughout time, people have been judged by the color of their skin, their lineage, their economic means, their gender, their religion, and so on. No one in this world has a right to judge anyone – ever.
A revolution is evident. We as a people, must grasp this momentum and re-build our communities and reinforce the positives that history has taught us; we need to pass our knowledge and experience to younger generations (setting personal baggage aside) and we need to listen to and express respect for our elders. We need to work together and support each other in unified efforts.
On Saturday, join the spirit of César Chávez, and be part of this historic revolution of the heart and the mind. ¡Si se puede!