October 31, 2012 by bramirezgalaviz1
César Chávez truly exemplifies an exceptional story of leadership and determination. One of the most significant breakthrough César accomplished was to run a successful campaign using non-violent protest forms, which grabbed international notice, to increase the benefits of farmers by calling the international community to boycott California table-grapes. As a result of his strong faith in God, he always preferred non-violent protesting. Personally coming from a family of farmworkers, he had a perspective of what was the true entail of a life of a farmworker. He personally experienced, looking through the eyes of a low-income farmworker, the unfair conditions surrounding farmworkers. He had seen his parents experience getting paid minimum wage, being exploited, migrating from farm to farm based on availability of work, but still needing that job to sustain their family. His efforts to improve working conditions for farm workers demonstrated his love for helping others. He wanted to be the voice of the silence held by all the oppressed farmworkers.
César began early on his efforts to formally helping others by joining the Community Service Organization in 1952. With the help of Fred Ross he was able to help Mexican-Americans register to vote and provided citizenship classes. Following the rejection from the CSO on his proposal to create a farm workers union, César had the idea to create another association that focused on farmworkers. The idea that he once saw as a dream, slowly became reality when the National Farm Workers Association was created. The NFWA united with American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations in efforts to focus on vineyard farmworkers. In order to get farm owners to take into consideration farmers’ requests, César began the international community to boycott California table-grapes. Through this long journey to change, César participated in a 25-day hunger strike to prevent union members from using violence. On July 29, 1970, farm owners agreed with the requests of the workers. This soon led to a domino effect which started with grape growers onto lettuce growers, benefiting more farmworkers. César’s fight for the benefits of farmworkers continued onto 1984, in which he fought for farm growers to lessen the use of pesticides on fields.
César’s positive influence in Latin American culture was seen until the day he died in April 23, 1993. He never stopped helping workers to gain the dignity and respect they deserved. I believe his efforts in benefiting farmworkers are seen in a positive light due to his influence as an inspiring leader looking for change to benefit others. He represents the definition of what it means to be a role model. He may be gone but his cause lives on. Above all, his ideals will be remembered every March 31st when it is Cesar Chavez Day.