“When we are really honest with ourselves, we must admit that our lives are all that really belong to us. So it is how we use our lives that determines what kind of people we are. ..I am convinced that the truest act of courage..is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally nonviolent struggle for justice.” Cesar Chavez (1927-1993)
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The movement led by Cesar Chavez , Dolores Huerta and others created a union and reduced the oppression of farm workers for a time. Then the corporations and the Right Wing forces adapted their strategies of oppression. The assault on the UFW and the current reconquest of power in the fields are examples of strategic racism, that is a system of racial oppression created and enforced because it benefits the over class -- in this case corporate agriculture.
In These Times
The new film, Cesar Chavez: History is Made One Step at a Time, doesn't capture the diversity of the farmworkers' movement. "When I was a farmworker, before the strike, we lived in different worlds - the Latino world, the Filipino world, the African-American world and the Caucasian world," Eliseo Medina as interviewed by David Bacon for In These Times.
The movie, Cesar Chavez, documents his life and his role in the 1965 Delano Grape Strike. An aspect of the film is the largely forgotten contributions of Filipino Americans to the farm labor movement. Since the 1920s, when Filipinos first learned to organize into unions in Hawaii, Filipinos were important leaders in organizing farmworkers to fight against unfair working conditions.
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History News Network
Too much credit or not enough? The film highlighted the realities of what farmworkers experienced in the past and present. People who watched the film were brought to tears by episodic scenes of farmworkers, Filipino and Mexican, being terrorized by vigilantes. Cesar Chavez also illustrated the feudal rule of the agricultural industrial complex consisting of growers interlocked with the institutions of law enforcement, politics, agencies of the state, and finance.
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The new film, which won the Audience Award at SXSW last week, tells the story of the iconic labor leader's fight to unionize farm workers, the inception of the United Farm Workers of America, and highlights the fight for better pay and conditions for farm laborers in the fields of California. "Cesar Chavez," which was screened at the White House on Wednesday, hits theaters March 28th.