Honoring Cesar Chavez

This month, we celebrate Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month, which is when people from Latin and Hispanic descent can celebrate their roots and culture by cooking special foods and decorating their homes with their countries flags and colors. 

Cesar Chavez is one of the many hispanic people who has made a difference.  He was a farm labourer and co-founded the National Farm Workers Association with owner Dolores Huerta. Chavez was also an organizer of Migrant American farmworkers. 

“It’s a month where our traditions and celebrations are celebrated and it’s really good because I think hispanics don’t really get their representation so I feel like this month we finally get to show who we are,” said Hailey Almonte, a student of Naugatuck High School and who herself celebrates Hispanic Heritage month. 

Cesar Chavez was born in Yuma, Arizona on March 31, 1927. Chavez dedicated his life to his work of helping others and engaged in many hunger strikes to promote his causes. As a young child Chavez and his family had worked in the fields as migrant workers. 

Hispanic Heritage Month shows appreciation and respect for hispanics and their contributions to the greatness of this country. They are able to show off their heritage and where they descended from by cooking food from their country or decorating their house with their countries flag. 

Chavez worked all his life and dedicated many years to his causes. His work consisted of helping out the working conditions, the pay, and improving the treatment towards farmworkers. He himself knew about being in the working fields.  

In September of 1965, Chavez joined a strike against grape growers in California. The NFWA started the strike with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee(AWCO) and a Filipino-American labouring group. The strike occurred because of poor working conditions for the farm workers and also paltry pay.

This strike had lasted for five years and had expanded into a nationwide boycott for the California grapes. Chavez led a 340 mile march from Delano to Sacramento in 1966 and a hunger strike of 25 days in 1968. 

“I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness, is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice to be a man is to suffer for others. God help us be men.” Chavez had his speech read out due to him being too weak from the hunger strike but people still could feel the power of his words. 

Cesar Chavez continued his work into the 70s to help win a labour contract  for agricultural workers across the industry, continuing with strikes and boycotts. As he got older and more into his work, he went on another hunger strike for 36 days at 61 years old. He went on this strike for the grape issue that was still present, he had not eaten in 25-days and had lost 35 pounds by the end of the strike which had doctors concerned for his health. 

His death had been caused by complications from previous hunger strikes from the lack of food. He was 66 years old when he passed away on April 23, 1993. 

Cesar Chavez is still well known amongst many people who celebrate hispanic and latinx heritage month or just know of him in general. He was an iconic person and a very very well known activist and had helped out many farmworkers. Bill Clinton awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Barack Obama had also used Chavez’s slogan – “Si, se puede,” which translates to “Yes, we can.”