“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…The people who give you their food give you their heart.”
¡Feliz cumpleaños, César Chávez! Our greatest power is in our connection to the heart, to the earth, and to the humility in our ways of living. César Chávez was born over 20 years after my grandfather, but my Papa M.R. was cut from the same cloth. As Latin@s, we must honor our leaders and not hold back from acknowledging that our strength has never been measured by how much we conform to the dominant ways of living in a materialistic, individualistic, competitive, and harshly discriminating society. The socially coercive power of these values and practices is evident in the number of our community who learn either to fear speaking out, or to emulate the people and the ways of those who value our tequila and tourism value, and our hard labor, but who all but erase us from the discourse on diversity in this country, choosing to rely on stubborn stereotypes of our roles and personalities. It is people like César Chávez who did not just create a cliché phrase with “Si se puede,” but who MEANT it, and never swayed from insisting on that truth. César Chávez taught me that sacrifice for our people is no sacrifice. Forgetting our people is a far greater loss. I would rather lose all “honor” than silence the truth that our people largely live in situations of struggle and cultural conflict which must be addressed as our numbers continue to grow and our lovely cultural ways offer promise to be more widespread and common if we can remember the dignity that is our legacy in our personal resilience and persistence. SI SE PUEDE. Para siempre.
Feliz dia, Don César.