Tag Archives: justice

Honoring Chávez …

24 Apr

On March 31, 2012, we took our family to San Antonio’s 16th Annual César E. Chávez March for Justice from the West Side through downtown to the Alamo.  I want to share these pictures with you as a part of our journey participating in our first César E. Chávez march.

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Beginning on the West Side at Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center

It was our first year to participate and the first year supporters were able to march down “César E. Chávez Blvd”.  Last year, San Antonio renamed Durango Blvd to César E. Chávez Blvd but it wasn’t without controversy.  So it wasn’t a surprise that the crowd cheered louder as we approached the boulevard. “¡Sí se puede!”  You could feel the energy rise … it didn’t hurt that there were a few bikers parked nearby revving up their engines really getting the crowd excited.

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My mom, two boys and my husband marching on César E. Chávez Blvd.

Leaders stopped and gathered in on the steps of San Antonio’s City Hall to recognize Paul E. Chávez, the Grand Marshall of the March (and son of César) and make a proclamation of the day.  In a recent interview in Phoenix, Paul is quoted saying of his father, “He told us to remember that the work is not like a baseball game. It doesn’t end. The struggle only ends when we give up.” (source: MySA.com, http://bit.ly/JmVNwf)

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Paul E. Chávez, son of César E. Chávez and Grand Marshall, receiving the proclamation from SA's Mayor Castro on the steps of City Hall.

Although there was no official count, it was estimated approximately 10,000 people participated in the march, a number that I hope will grow year after year.

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From the bridge on Guadalupe Street on the West Side

Many San Antonio college students were seen and heard.  Chanting loudly:

“What do we want?”

-“Dream Act”

“When do we want it?”

-“Now”

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St. Mary's University was one of several local colleges that were represented.

City officials, local politicians and several corporations came out to honor and pay tribute to César and create awareness around the issues that are affecting our community today.  We came out to be a part of a community that doesn’t forget about honoring a man’s legacy who dedicated his life to others.  He worked tirelessly and protested by means of fasting to make a difference for others’ lives and bring justice to people around him and in this country.  To learn more about his life and work and San Antonio’s Annual March, visit www.cesarchavezlegacy.org

My son, asleep after marching for justice.

An unexpected result from this experience that puts a smile on my face is now my sons will randomly begin to chant “¡Sí se puede!” I know they don’t understand it now but I do believe that if I expose them to standing up for justice and equality, they will begin to understand why it is important to participate.  What’s the saying … “Children learn more from what is caught than what is taught.”

There is more work to do than showing up and walking 3 miles through downtown but we’ve taken our first step.  What acts do you show children the importance to stand for justice and equality?

César E. Chávez March 31, 1927 - April 23, 1993

A Glass of Wine, A Night of Inspiration

14 Nov

This past week, I attended the Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) Conference in Chicago. I went because I am a fan of social media, I am always willing to learn and I wanted to meet the people I’ve been chatting with on Twitter.

The non-profit organization began with one tweet from founder Ana Roca Castro asking if there were any Latino bloggers out there.  And now has become an entire community of social media enthusiasts with over 140,000 members who support each other, share ideas and information, and want to empower all Latinos.  So it was no surprise when legendary Latino Civil Rights Leader Dolores Huerta took the stage as a keynote speaker.  Her message was powerful:  We are one human family. End racism. Be courageous. We (in social media) are ahead of the game. We, the people, are coming together to fight for justice. Our Latino community is a force for good, peace, and justice.

Of course, at the end of the night a friend and I raced over to meet her and have a picture taken with her as we thought, wow! we may not have this chance again.  Well, normally, we wouldn’t.  This was no normal conference though.  Later that night, as a few new friends and I were deciding to have a drink at the hotel bar before turning in, we saw several conference leaders walk in with Dolores Huerta.  We greeted them and they were gracious enough to allow us to join them at their table at a wine bar.  Yes, I was honored to drink wine (made of grapes) with Dolores Huerta.

A journalist, not on assignment, was in our small group.  He asked some amazing questions and Dolores candidly opened up.  She shared about personal experiences with César E. Chávez.  She shared about boycotting grapes and what it took to do that.  She shared that it is important for our local communities to have leaders who make a difference, lead and take action.  She encouraged the young generation to work for justice not for material things in life. “You don’t see a hearse with a U-haul attached. You can’t take the stuff with you.”

I personally had questions of my own.  I wanted to know if she felt like she was ever in César’s shadow.  She replied that at the time she wasn’t concerned about that, she was fighting for ‘la raza’. She was occupied with talking about grapes, not women’s rights.  Not until later did she face that dilemma. And she dealt with it.  She had become friends with Gloria Steinem after all.

She had shared that she was in her mid 30’s when she started working with César.  Me being in my mid 30’s I had to ask, how can my life and work honor her work.  She answered simply:  Work for justice.

The conversation with Dolores Huerta was a once in a lifetime experience for me.  I didn’t in a million years expect to meet her in person, much less get to spend almost 2 hours talking about her life experiences.  She grabbed and held my hand as we walked out and shared another story.  It was like listening to a great Tía tell you family stories.

I am inspired by this woman who spoke gently about work that has changed this country.  Sharing came easily to her and the simplicity of what she said amazed me.

I returned home and replay the conversation in my mind.  It would have been rude to take notes at the table (even though that’s what I really wanted to do.)  And I ask myself, what work will I do in my community that will be for justice?  I don’t know the answer right now but I do know that not doing any work, will not honor what César and Dolores have done for the Latino community.

I am humbled and blessed by this experience.  Thank you Latism, Thank you God!

You can follow Latinos in Social Media on Twitter using the hashtag #LATISM. Find out more here.

Visit www.doloreshuerta.org to find out more about the difference Dolores Huerta is making today.

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