HOME IN THE STREETS

 


 
 

The Cesar Chavez March stopped at Blue Diamond Almond Growers, where the ILWU has been attempting for three years to organize approximately 500 production and maintenance workers at the plant. During this organizing period, Blue Diamond has been guilty of over 20 counts of labor law violations. A federal judge has ruled that two employees were illegally fired and that Blue Diamond has misrepresented the consequences of joining the union.

The marchers held a brief rally at Blue Diamond to support the workers.


 

 

  "Are these make-believe threats? Are they exaggerations? Ask the farm workers who are still waiting for growers to bargain in good faith and sign contracts. Ask the farm workers who've been fired from their jobs because they spoke out for the union. Ask the farm workers who've been threatened with physical violence because they support the UFW. Ask the family of Rene Lopez, the young farm worker from Fresno who was shot to death last year because he supported the union. These tragic events forced farm workers to declare a new international boycott of California table grapes. That's why we are asking Americans once again to join the farm workers by boycotting California grapes. The Louis Harris poll revealed that 17 million American adults boycotted grapes. We are convinced that those people and that good will have not disappeared. That segment of the population which makes our boycotts work are the Hispanics, the Blacks, the other minorities and our allies in labor and the church. But it is also an entire generation of young Americans who matured politically and socially in the 1960s and '70s--millions of people for whom boycotting grapes and other products became a socially accepted pattern of behavior." - Cesar Chavez 1984

 
  'History and inevitability are on our side. The farm workers and their children--and the Hispanics and their children--are the future in California. And corporate growers are the past! Those politicians who ally themselves with the corporate growers and against the farm workers and the Hispanics are in for a big surprise. They want to make their careers in politics. They want to hold power 20 and 30 years from now.

But 20 and 30 years from now--in Modesto, in Salinas, in Fresno, in Bakersfield, in the Imperial Valley, and in many of the great cities of California--those communities will be dominated by farm workers and not by growers, by the children and grandchildren of farm workers and not by the children and grandchildren of growers.

These trends are part of the forces of history that cannot be stopped. No person and no organization can resist them for very long. They are inevitable. Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore"--Cesar Chavez



 
  The march proceeded down E Street, passing this tribute to Cesar Chavez. The altar is re-created annually by Oscar Garcia, former member of the UFW, to commemorate Cesar Chavez. Oscar is currently an ILWU member and participated in the Cesar Chavez marcha.

 
  Soyla Barela, Oscar Garcia's daughter-in-law, served as docent for Oscar's Cesar Chavez altar. She is accompanied by her daughter, Victoria Garcia.

 
 

The march ended at Cesar Chavez Plaza in downtown Sacramento.

The Plaza was re-named for Cesar Chavez by former Mayor Joe Serna, a son of migrant workers, University professor, and civil rights activist in the UFW with Cesar Chavez .


 
  "The union's survival--its very existence--sent out a signal to all Hispanics that we were fighting for our dignity, that we were challenging and overcoming injustice, that we were empowering the least educated among us--the poorest among us. The message was clear: If it could happen in the fields, it could happen anywhere-- in the cities, in the courts, in the city councils, in the state legislatures.

I didn't really appreciate it at the time, but the coming of our union signaled the start of great changes among Hispanics that are only now beginning to be seen. I've travelled to every part of this nation. I have met and spoken with thousands of Hispanics from every walk of life--from every social and economic class. One thing I hear most often from Hispanics, regardless of age or position--and from many non-Hispanics as well--is that the farm workers gave them hope that they could succeed and the inspiration to work for change."

--Cesar Chavez

Memo Durgin, President, Sacto. Chapter of the Labor Council For Latin American Advancement, AFL-CIO, SEIU Local 1000 Staff member, and organizer of the Cesar Chavez March -2008.


 
 

"Our opponents must understand that it's not just a union we have built. Unions, like other institutions, can come and go. But we're more than an institution. For nearly 20 years, our union has been on the cutting edge of a people's cause--and you cannot do away with an entire people; you cannot stamp out a people's cause."-- Cesar Chavez


Marc Bautista, SEIU Local 1000, Vice President


 
  "This is my grandson. This is why we're here-- for our grandchildren, our grandmothers, our grandfathers, men, women and children! We're not Mexicans--we're not immigrants--we're human beings!"-- Al Rojas, community activist.
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