Sacramento, CA 3-29-08


The 2008 annual Cesar Chavez March began at 10 a.m. with a gathering in the parking lot at Los Primos Pizzeria/Taqueria on Northgate Blvd. Marchers then proceeded to downtown Sacramento via Hwy 160 and 12th Street, detouring to the Blue Diamond Almond Growers for a brief rally in support of the ILWU's organizing effort at Blue Diamond. The march ended at Cesar Chavez Plaza with speeches and cultural performances.

Most photos are accompanied by excerpts from Cesar Chavez's address to the Commonwealth Club of California, delivered November 9, 1984, in San Francisco.

  "The consciousness and pride that were raised by our union are alive and thriving inside millions of young Hispanics who will never work on a farm! Like the other immigrant groups, the day will come when we win the economic and political rewards which are in keeping with our numbers in society. The day will come when the politicians do the right thing by our people out of political necessity and not out of charity or idealism. That day may not come this year. That day may not come during this decade. But it will come, someday!

And when that day comes, we shall see the fulfillment of that passage from the Book of Matthew in the New Testament, "That the last shall be first and the first shall be last."

And on that day, our nation shall fulfill its creed--and that fulfillment shall enrich us all."

--Cesar Chavez

  "All Hispanics--urban and rural, young and old--are connected to the farm workers' experience. We had all lived through the fields--or our parents had. We shared that common humiliation. How could we progress as a people, even if we lived in the cities, while the farm workers--men and women of our color--were condemned to a life without pride? How could we progress as a people while the farm workers--who symbolized our history in this land--were denied self-respect? How could our people believe that their children could become lawyers and doctors and judges and business people while this shame, this injustice was permitted to continue?" --Cesar Chavez

  "I began to realize what other minority people had discovered: That the only answer--the only hope--was in organizing. More of us had to become citizens. We had to register to vote. And people like me had to develop the skills it would take to organize, to educate, to help empower the Chicano people.

I spent many years--before we founded the union--learning how to work with people. We experienced some successes in voter registration, in politics, in battling racial discrimination--successes in an era when Black Americans were just beginning to assert their civil rights and when political awareness among Hispanics was almost non-existent."--Cesar Chavez

  "Those who attack our union often say, 'It's not really a union. It's something else: A social movement. A civil rights movement. It's something dangerous." They're half right. The United Farm Workers is first and foremost a union. A union like any other. A union that either produces for its members on the bread and butter issues or doesn't survive.

But the UFW has always been something more than a union --although it's never been dangerous if you believe in the Bill of Rights. The UFW was the beginning! We attacked that historical source of shame and infamy that our people in this country lived with. We attacked that injustice, not by complaining; not by seeking hand-outs; not by becoming soldiers in the War on Poverty. We organized! Farm workers acknowledged we had allowed ourselves to become victims in a democratic society--a society where majority rule and collective bargaining are supposed to be more than academic theories or political rhetoric. And by addressing this historical problem, we created confidence and pride and hope in an entire people's ability to create the future."--Cesar Chavez

  "After 1975, we redirected our efforts from the boycott to organizing and winning elections under the law. The law helped farm workers make progress in overcoming poverty and injustice. At companies where farm workers are protected by union contracts, we have made progress in overcoming child labor, in overcoming miserable wages and working conditions, in overcoming sexual harassment of women workers, in overcoming dangerous pesticides which poison our people and poison the food we all eat. Where we have organized, these injustices soon pass into history."--Cesar Chavez

  "I am told, these days, why farm workers should be discouraged and pessimistic: The Republicans control the Governor's office and the White House. They say there is a conservative trend in the nation. Yet we are filled with hope and encouragement. We have looked into the future and the future is ours!"--Cesar Chavez


"The other trend that gives us hope is the monumental growth of Hispanic influence in this country and what that means in increased population, increased social and economic clout, and increased political influence. South of the Sacramento River in California, Hispanics now make up more than 25 percent of the population. That figure will top 30 percent by the year 2000. There are 1.1 million Spanish-surnamed registered voters in California; 85 percent are Democrats; only 13 percent are Republicans. In 1975, there were 200 Hispanic elected officials at all levels of government. In 1984, there are over 400 elected judges, city council members, mayors and legislators. In light of these trends, it is absurd to believe or suggest that we are going to go back in time--as a union or as a people!"

--Cesar Chavez

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