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Our questions about him might teach us more about what we do not know about ourselves. It may be possible that the questions we have and our interest in the study of Cesar E. Chavez, his life and work as "servant-leader," can help us to focus on the principle of citizenship. Learning from Cesar E. Chavez' example, we can answer: Yes, it is possible (Si se puede!). It is possible to create and articulate a vision; to be accountable for the well-being of the whole; to set and pursue goals that sustain our institutions; our families and communities; to establish boundaries and set limits; to create structure and order that suits our purposes and well being; and to become role models. As we move on to assert our "servant-leader" role, we can begin teaching others as Mr. Athie, advises us:
"It is necessary that the students know that this story was real. In this country, so powerful, so full of beauty, so large, there are also many injustices. We need a Chavez, many Chavezes, so that we can continue doing good for others."

Statistic

2011 Iowa Farm Custom
Farm Labor in California
Wages and Fringes
The Teamsters and UFCW represent farm
The apparently unauthorized workers

News

Farm Real Estate
Farm Loan Programs
General Opinions Expressed
Detailed Suggestions Expressed

 

Cesar E. Chavez

Cesar E. Chavez began his work in his childhood, with the people he encountered as they toiled side by side in the fields of California. He knew from personal experience what it meant to be a servant and what a servant needed to do for those he would serve. More importantly, he knew what he did not need, in a material sense, to lead a decent life while in the service of others.

Because of the experiences many farm workers gained as organizers and members of the UFW, their children had been influenced to see beyond the limitations of migrant and farm work labor; and they joined a new struggle - to obtain an education and a different economic future. Cesar E. Chavez gave them evidence with his actions that "Yes, it is possible" (Si se puede) to change their working conditions. Eco site.

During the many battles and power struggles between the growers, the Teamsters, and the Farm Workers Union, Cesar was often considered stubborn. It was in the best interests of the growers to control this man, and to do it by changing the balance of power. They thought that by doing so, he would be forced to define himself differently. Professor Jenkins, in 1985, notes that Mr. Herbert Fleming, President of the Western Growers Association, said, "If we could get the Teamster contract from Chavez, then maybe in the long run Chavez would have to shape up and act like a businessman and it would work out." But they underestimated Chavez. Obviously, he was not going to think "like a businessman". From his point of reference, he would think like the people he chose to serve. More importantly, he would think about what would meet their most essential needs as they performed their daily work.

He lived within the paradox of being born a Mexican man within what some writers have described as a "very traditional" culture. But Cesar E. Chavez conducted his life as a human being keenly aware of his connection to all humans regardless of background, creed, personal preferences, or opinions. He lived in the paradox of the "Borderlands," so aptly described by Gloria Anzaldua when discussing the challenge faced by those that have more than one cultural tradition. Family heritage and cultural history allows many of us to speak another language besides English, and to be comfortable with various customs and traditions. It gives us a unique perspective on the world.

Cesar could have lived up to the typical stereotypes attributed to Mexican males, but he did not. His example teaches us differently. He might have been "surrounded" by stereotypes, and could have succumbed to their trappings. "Orperhaps as Anzaldua comments, he could have "decided to disengage from the dominant culture, write it off altogether as a lost cause, and cross the border into a wholly new and separate territory.

 

     
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