Cesar Chavez: The Worker’s Activist Essay

A man from a small town in Arizona changes the rights for farmers all over the world. The man was, Cesar Chavez. Chavez was born in Yuma, Arizona on March 31, 1927. During the Great Depression, his family lost their farm and moved to California to pay off the debts they had accumulated. In 1942, after graduating the eighth grade, Chavez became a farmworker in his new state. Four years later, he joined the United States Navy where he served for two years (“Cesar Chavez honored with Google doodle”).

He learned about the horrid conditions that the workers were facing in the farms and decided to do something about it. Through protests, strikes, and unions, Chavez put others before himself and tried to better their lives. Chavez may have been born in a small town but he tried, every day of his life, to improve on what he and his peers had to live through. While working in the farms, he learned that many farmers were payed very low wages and were treated with virtually no respect. Chavez also learned about injustice, at a young age, when his father tried to buy a farm when he was a child.

When his father wanted some land to live on, Chavez’s father made an agreement with some land owners to clear forty acres and in return he would be able to build a home there. When the land was cleared the owners turned around and sold it to another man and took all the money. Now penniless, Chavez’s father went to a lawyer who told him to loan money from him to buy the land, unable to pay the loan debts the lawyer bought said land for himself and never talked to Chavez’s father again. Cesar Chavez learned how unjust the world could be.

The way he responded was nothing shy of unprecedented. Most people who see how horribly some humans treat their peers act out in violence and tend to want to hurt the attackers in revenge. In contrast, Chavez saw an opportunity to set an example and show that violence seems to only make the problem more severe. His methods were more humane and taught a lesson instead, of causing bruises. When setting up the National Farm Workers Labor Union he stated that all boycotts and other public demonstrations must be nonviolent and solely promote what the demonstration is trying to advocate.

This sort of demonstration tactic shows what kind of character Chavez had; kind, compassionate, and selfless. These qualities are marks of a person with good moral character. Being that Cesar Chavez nearly always puts everyone before himself, shows that he is a person who everyone should model themselves after. If everyone were to have a better character, like that of Chavez, the world would probably be more civilized, calm, and orderly. There are many problems in the world but the main one that sticks out is humans’ selfishness.

Chavez used his unselfishness to his advantage in that he created many organizations that benefited the farmers and laborers of the United States. Secondly, the organizations that he created are still standing today and have went on to help, and be an example of, making sure the people who do not have a voice are heard and, in turn, protected. When Jesus Christ was on Earth, in human form, he went out of his way to talk and live around the poor and out casted of society. Cesar Chavez, in many ways, did the same exact thing.

His mission was not to make himself look good or to appear humble to others, but rather to genuinely try and benefit those he was trying to help. Much like Jesus associated himself Mary Magdalene, Chavez associated himself with the like of the common farmers and migrant workers whom no one gave any worth to and treated like garbage. Jesus did not start any labor unions but that does that mean that he did not do what he could for who he wanted to help, in his case the lepers, poor, and prostitutes.

In much the same way, Chavez did what he could for who he wanted to help. This characteristic, that both of these men possessed, is doing your upmost even though it may be small. Furthermore, they both realized that even if they could not fully change everything for the good, they would still try and that is the main point. The workers of the farms in the early to mid-1900s were horrible. Most the laborers were never given any rights, or more literally, their given rights were not recognized.

They were also rarely paid and when they were, in very small amounts. Since the Great depression was occurring at this time, the land owners used that as an excuse to charge fees on the workers. The sad thing about the whole situation was that they could not say a word because no one would listen. In order to get his voice heard, Chavez organized groups that would slowly and peacefully advocate better rights for the laborers. Once large enough, Chavez’s organizations and groups would protest and go on strikes.

These strikes were not designed to hurt the businesses or ruin their reputations but, more literally, to open the owners’ eyes and let them see what their cruelty was doing to their workers. Chavez also organized hunger strikes that were meant to call attention to his organizations’ aspirations and goals. Such strikes were held many times and contributed to the character of Chavez in that it showed how dedicated and selfless he really was. It would seem easier to just insult and ruin the reputation of a company but what does that accomplish?

What do demonstrations like that make an example of, peace? Those types of demonstrations only serve to irritate the problem that the strike is trying to abolish. Instead, Chavez’s demonstrations were meant more, as stated before, to call attention to the problem of unfair rights. In conclusion, being an activist is not merely taking the reins of an organization and setting up demonstrations of peace and trying to sully the name of an establishment, but rather to open the eyes of the owners and anagers of organizations that do not respect the workers or laborers they employ.

Cesar Chavez set out to do just that by founding organizations that seek to give the small man a voice, who would otherwise never be heard. In this mission, Chavez enforced his fellow activists to act in peace, rather than violence. Putting all of his qualities together, Cesar Chavez is someone whom everyone should model themselves after and that is why he was a man of good character.