Grade Level: 7-8
Student: Ella Gunady
Teacher: Lesley Wilhite
Chapter: Fremont Unified Dist. TA
Senator Robert F. Kennedy believed Cesar Chavez was “one of the heroic figures of our time.” Not only was Cesar Chavez a hero to the Senator, he is a hero to countless others, including me, and generations to come. Through pickets, strikes, and protests, Chavez fought against injustice and for equality of all people. During the Great Depression, migrant farm workers were treated and paid unfairly. Knowingly putting his job and life at stake for his cause, Chavez led a group of protestors into a peaceful fight that would put an end to discrimination. Chavez’s actions encourage young people like me to take a stand in the face of unfairness and muster courage to voice our opinions.
When Cesar Chavez’s family lost their farm in Arizona, they all became migrant farmworkers. Though underprivileged and paid minimal wages, Chavez risked everything to demand equal rights. At my junior high school, one club planned an anti-bullying rally. I watched club members, all wearing matching shirts, shouting anti-bullying chants. I recognized one member; I sometimes see her sitting alone on a bench, staring longingly at a group of popular kids. The way this girl, bullied herself, came out to lead and support an anti-bullying rally reminded me of Cesar Chavez. Unlike Cesar Chavez, this girl is not in history books, nor is she famous for changing the world, yet she exemplifies how selfless someone can be for a cause. I look up to this girl and Cesar Chavez with admiration – they so willingly helped others when they were in need themselves.
I am not the type of person to stand up for myself, so thoughts about defending other people rarely cross my mind. Most times, I’m even afraid to raise my hand in class. I feel pressure of getting an answer wrong and embarrassing myself with classmates, or stating an opinion no one else supports. When Cesar Chavez first started protesting, he had very few followers. Cesar had a few weak, hungry, and powerless friends fighting peacefully against powerful, wealthy, and influential plantation owners. As his protestor team grew, their power grew, and so did their cause. Without thousands who supported Chavez, his cause may never have succeeded. However, it’s not just teamwork and support that led to equal rights. It was Chavez himself; without his bold act of stepping forward, pickets, marches, and protests may never have happened. Chavez wasn’t afraid of being embarrassed, or having no one agree with him. I learned from Cesar Chavez’s actions that even when no one agrees, listens, or cares, if you truly believe in something, the only thing to do is voice your opinion. Not only have I learned to speak up in class; I’ve also learned to speak out of class. When I see or hear bullying, I’m always tempted to walk away, but Cesar Chavez reminds me to speak my mind and stop the bullying.
Cesar Chavez is a teacher to me; he teaches how to have courage and stand for what I believe is right. Though Cesar Chavez sadly passed away on April 23, 1993, memory of his heroic actions still live in our hearts; his legacy continues in young people following his example. I aim to be one of these heirs who fight peacefully for justice. Cesar Chavez reminds me each and every day what I can do to help make my school and the world a better place – by speaking out in the face of injustice. Cesar Chavez is not just “one of the heroic figures of our time,” he is one of the heroic figures of all time.