Grade Level: 9-12
Student: Joshue Leyva
Teacher: John Mesicek
Chapter: Palm Springs TA
César Chávez: A Dream Made Into a Reality
Throughout history, countless numbers of leaders have engraved their legacies on our lives. Out of those numbers, one labor leader, farm worker, civil rights activist, and proud Hispanic has made an indelible mark on my life, César Chávez. In order to ensure equal opportunity and rights for all, Chávez faced and withstood incredibly fierce opposition. Though I may never measure up to Chávez’s stature, I apply various principles of Chávez’s legacy throughout my life. Chávez’s teamwork, service to others, collaboration, and health issues have had major effects on my life.
Primarily, the constant teamwork that Chávez displayed throughout his life made an impact in me. For instance, I attend a church and we fundraise because we are under construction. One means of fundraising is to do a “car wash”. At the site, the members and I would organize three different groups: a group to wash the car’s body, another to wash the car’s tires, and a final group to dry the car. I would often times alternate among groups. I noticed something in each group, whether if I was drying the exterior or washing the tires – the teamwork. If I saw one of the members of the church struggling to dry the vehicle, I and others would lend a hand. The entire church applied teamwork to every task and the vehicles would be cleaned in an instant. Furthermore, Chávez displayed courageous teamwork in organizing events such as boycotts and strikes. In every goal that Chávez created, teamwork was a quality always found. Chávez’s examples of exemplary teamwork taught me that I must apply teamwork in every event, large or small, in order to complete a task correctly.
Next, there is an attribute that is hardly seen today, which is to provide service to others and expect to receive nothing in return. Without any doubt, Chávez practiced this attribute again and again, providing service to others. Chávez embraced this trait and I use it whenever an opportunity arises to offer service to others. For example, I am part of a club at my high school, Community Service Key Club. This club offers numerous opportunities to give back to society. When opportunities to give back arise, often times I think of Chávez and the service that he provided to the farmers and to his society. I try to follow the examples of Chávez by volunteering in many places, such as a pre-school called Storyland. My personal goal, was shaped by Chávez’s service to others, is to become a doctor. I wish to help every type of human by using my medical knowledge to cure the diseased and heal the sick, not caring for their financial or legal status. All I want is to donate my time and to work in the community. I do not expect anything in return, because that is what the legacy of Chávez taught me.
Third, a vital example left by Chávez and written in his legacy is collaboration. When I analyzed autobiographies of Chávez, I quickly realized the unity between him and his union; I understood that they worked together and Chávez practiced the act of collaboration. Whenever I receive the opportunity to go to my church and volunteer as a helper or worker in the construction, I always accept. When I go, I see many unified workers collaborating with awareness for the needs of others. I join the workers so I, too, offer my services. In doing so, we help each other whenever a job becomes too difficult for two or three people. Through a union, Chávez demonstrated his will to work together by constructing the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. Also, Chávez collaborated in the 1960’s Delano grape strike, proving that Chávez would collaborate to help others have acceptable working conditions. This principle of Chávez’s shows me that one needs collaboration in order to be successful.
Ultimately, something that I feel that demands great importance is my health, and the health of those around me. My experiences will never match Chávez’s experiences. I remember an occasion where I went to the International Tamale Festival in Indio, where my church bought a stand to sell gourmet food. While scrutinizing the different stands, I witnessed a stand without a sanitary environment. The stand was going to fail the inspection test because of the lack of health and sanitary awareness. I quickly called my mother and helped the stand reach sanitary standards by cleaning objects, bringing soap, and by separating the rinsing water from the drinking water. By doing so, I helped prevent a health disgrace. Chávez did the unimaginable in order to give farmers a safer working environment. Chávez struggled to improve health issues around the farming community, but he knew that behind the arduous work was going to be the greatest of all gifts – health. Chávez organized boycotts to protest the use of pesticides on grapes, such as the grape boycott during the 1980’s. Chávez’s struggles led to a triumph, as he achieved his goals in giving farmers a safer working environment and improving health issues.
In conclusion, César Chávez transcends more than an activist recorded in the pages of history. Chávez is my inspirational leader, collaborating worker, and a non-violent activist. To me, Chávez is a source of inspiration, and I am filled with pride to know that Chávez is an Hispanic like me. Through Chávez’s dedication and great support to everyone, he was able to grasp the once unreachable dream. Though Chávez faced strong opponents and impediments, he still believed in his wish to help everyone. I thank you Mr. César Chávez for handing me the inspiration and for everything you have done for us; you are a pride to the Hispanic heritage. I want to become a doctor to give aid to the needy, despite color, creed, or accent. Everything shall be beautiful knowing that I helped people like César Chávez. Chávez gave his life for a noble cause; and, today, innumerable people benefit from Chávez’s triumphs. I feel a responsibility to talk with new generations yet to come about the successes that people like Chávez have had through years of sacrifice. People like César Chávez will always be remembered with immense love and recognition. Mr. César Chávez, thank you for making a difference in my life!