Cesar Chavez: A Voice for All
“Preservation of one's own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.”
Put simply, Cesar Chavez was a blessing to the Hispanic community. He was the voice of change that Hispanics at the time so desperately needed, and he was relentless in his efforts towards civil rights. Cesar Chavez was born March 31st, 1927, on his family’s farm, where he would grow to see first-hand the terrible conditions that the farmworkers endured. From minimal to no pay, poor housing conditions, and no medical help, the laborers that Cesar Chavez saw struggled mightily. Though Chavez would briefly become a laborer himself, he spent two years in the U.S. Navy before routinely involving himself in the Community Service Organization in California, where his primary mission was to increase voter turnout for minorities.
After his work with the CSO, Chavez co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, where he and his group of supporters would either provide help in protests or spark protests on their own in support of farm laborers’ quality of life. Among these protests, the California grape pikers strike picked up national attention via Walter Reuther and Robert F. Kennedy. Seemingly, wherever Chavez went, new support groups and coalitions sprouted in his path. Between 1976 and 1988, there was a bit of a falloff in the NFWA’s successes, but Chavez stood firmly in place for what he believed was the right approach. He fasted and tried to kick-start boycotts in efforts to revitalize the association that ultimately failed. Despite this, Chavez’s legacy consists of an archive collection in his name, support from then-presidential nominee Barack Obama, a nationally recognized portrait of Chavez in Washington D.C. and three Nobel Peace Prize nominations, alongside the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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