Through the years, individuals have shown that a single man can make a difference. Men who, when committed to a cause, will rise up with honor, integrity, and courage. Cesar Chavez was such a man. He represented the people and rose above his self concerns to meet the needs of the people. Cesar Chavez showed us that, "The highest form of freedom carries with it the greatest measure of discipline." He lived by this standard and fought freedom with the highest form of dignity and character.
Cesar Chavez was born in 1927 to a farmer in Meza, Arizona. When Cesar was 10 years old, his father lost his farm and the family was forced to become migrant farm workers in California. During this time he would encounter the conditions that dedicated his life to changing: wretched migrant camps, corrupt labor contractors, meager wages for backbreaking work, and bitter racism. He did not loose his dignity, however, and continued to strive to be the best he could be. He joined the Navy during World War II and got a job as a fruit picker afterwards. Around this time, he became committed to a self help group known as The Community Service Organization.
He became so committed to helping people through this organization, he had to leave his job as a fruit picker. Chavez soon began to help the farmers of California. Using non-violent protest and The National Farm Workers Association, he began a boycott on grapes without labor union contracts. His protests gained publicity and soon exploded into a nation wide boycott on grapes and lettuce. The producers of these crops hired illegal workers and even people to beat protesters. Though many, including Chavez, were persecuted and even jailed, the boycott went on.
After a long struggle that lasted into the 1970's, labor contracts were beginning to be signed, and farmers were being treated fairly. Cesar Chavez continued to give his time to help farmers and maintain The National Farm Workers Association he started. He gave speeches, put on demonstrations, and fasted to support his cause. Law suits even arose against Chavez, but he continued to protest. In 1993, after fasting to protest a law suit brought on him by Brad An tel, he died in his sleep of liver, spleen, and kidney complications.
Cesar Chavez was a great man of morals, commitment, and love for his people. He dedicated his whole life to "La Causa" and lived as all men should live. Through his dedication and humanitarian acts he eliminated the persecution of farmers and Latinos in America. He showed everyone that hard work, dedication, and discipline are more powerful than racism, violence, and persecution. Through Cesar Chavez, America learned that, 'When you have people together who believe in something very strongly - whether it's religion or politics or unions - things happen.' - Cesar Chavez.