When writer and veteran union organizer David Bacon speaks of “people who travel with the crops,” he means the agricultural workers who move from place to place to cultivate and harvest California’s fields. They are also the subject of his newest work of photojournalism.
The time for Diane Rodriguez’s play is 1970, and the immediate setting is the office of El Malcriado, the newspaper founded by Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez in Delano, California.
When Cesar Chavez led a band of farm workers on their historic 300-mile march from Delano to Sacramento half a century ago, they prominently displayed banners of the Virgin de Guadalupe throughout the line. Why? Because that image held symbolic weight far beyond any other the group could carry.
Sometimes the most interesting, and influential, figures in history are anything but household names. A case in point is Fred Ross, one of the greatest organizers of the 20th century.
The police stop a young man. An officer shoots, killing him. The officer claims self-defense, that the killing was warranted. The community, having endured years of unequal treatment at the hands of law enforcement and other municipal agencies, responds in anger. Protests ensue. Hard feelings persist, as do demands for law-enforcement accountability. Sound familiar? No, […]
Many people thought Cesar Chavez was crazy to think he could build a union among migrant farmworkers. Since the early 1900s, unions had been trying and failing to organize California’s unskilled agricultural workers. Whether the workers were Anglos, Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos or Mexican Americans, these efforts met the same fate. The organizing drives met fierce […]
There haven’t been, to put it mildly, many films about America’s labor movement. Take away Salt of the Earth (1954) and Norma Rae (1979) and what are you left with? Cesar Chavez, then, offers to fill a cavernous void in the public’s knowledge about both union organizing and the history of the country’s mostly Latino […]
When Diego Luna was growing up in Mexico he’d sometimes hear references to Cesar Chavez and the union of farm workers he had organized in America. Luna, who would become one of his country’s leading film stars, remembers being struck as a 13-year-old by television images of Chavez’s funeral – the man was so modest, […]
Spring equinox always arrives in what feels like the middle of winter. Snow falls in the Northwest while the Northeast tries to dig out from under the most recent storm and ice still covers Midwestern roads. Even in Los Angeles, spring does not really feel like, well, spring until sometime in late April or early […]
Activists, organizers and elected officials across the United States have come together to urge President Barack Obama to award posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the legendary organizer, Fred Ross Sr. The first to organize people through house meetings, a mentor to both Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, and a pioneer in Latino voter […]
President Obama this week designated the home and burial site of the legendary United Farm Workers (UFW) leader, César Chávez, a national monument. Known as La Paz, short for Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz, or Our Lady Queen of Peace, the site is in Keene, California AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the designation is a fitting […]
Fifty years ago I graduated from high school on the other side of town from where Dolores Huerta had a decade earlier. My high school class will hold its reunion this fall. Also 50 years ago, Huerta and Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers a few miles further south in Delano. The UFW just […]