Cesar Chavez deserves to be honored because he served the common good making our state and country better by what he did. Chavez represents qualities important for young people to reflect upon in these days of hardship and strife for many across the world
Cesar Chavez is a uniquely American figure with a history from which we can learn how to be better citizens for our country and be better persons with our fellow human beings. Chavez’ uniqueness is blending and intertwining in his life positively, the public and the personal, the individual and the collective, the pragmatic and the spiritual. He taught self-sacrifice to help others in a country with many people centered on self aggrandizement and on obtaining material goods at any cost.
Cesar Chavez worked tirelessly to enhance the personal dignity and well-being of the most vulnerable amongst us, the least attended of the working poor, the farm workers. He taught farm workers and all others the importance of organizing to secure and maintain rights whether in the fields or the towns, in the public sphere or the private domain. He stressed doing for yourself, by doing for others with love. If we act with love we act with consideration and respect for others, the result will be a more harmonious and just society.
Cesar Chavez was in life as he is in memory a multi-dimension, multi- value person, who upheld ideals and practiced his ideals. He was nearly pennyless all his life. He claimed no status due to professional standing or family connections. He did not copy other leaders in their ways and manners. Cesar Chavez lived for the common good for the common people in all seasons which is why he deserves a commemorative day on the calendar and a place in our hearts.
Juan Gomez-Quinones is a professor at UCLA’s History Department; he can be reached at Jgquinonesucla@gmail.com