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Grade Level: 5-6
Region: 1
Student: Pedro Velazquez
Teacher: Kathleen White
Chapter: San Jose TA


Mr. Chávez an American Hero


You might know who César Chávez is, I guess that some people think he was an ordinary farm worker, but I say he was a leader and a role model. Mr. Chávez had a rough start. His family owned a farm and a store, in Arizona, which they unfortunately lost due to the depression and drought, when he was about 10 years old. His family then moved to California to work in the fields as farm workers. His family was forced to move from place to place, where work was available. At the same time Mr. Chávez was forced to change schools. I understand that from the age of 10 to the time he finished 8th grade he attended about 38 different schools. I know how it feels to change schools. I have changed schools only once and I felt like a stranger. I did not know any of my classmates and did not have any friends. I can only imagine how hard it was for Mr. Chávez to change schools so many times.

Records show that Mr. Chávez gave up school after he finished the 8th grade to go work on the fields to help support his family. He became a farm worker. He saw how farm workers were treated with cruelty. The farm workers were not paid a fair salary, they were not given breaks, they were forced to work in extreme weather, and they lived in very small and poor houses. The farm workers used to get very sick. Soon it was found out that the farm workers were getting sick because of the pesticides used on the crops. Mr. Chávez did not agree with the way farm workers were treated, he thought it was injustice.

As an adult Mr. Chávez never forgot about the way farm workers were mistreated and he started to fight for their rights. He did not use violence. He boycotted grapes and lettuce. He also protested by fasting for about 40 days. He believed in fasting because he believed in God. He learned about God from his grandmother and his mother. I also believe in God. My parents have always taught me about having faith in God.

Mr. Chávez also co-founded the first National Farm Workers Association, along with Ms. Dolores Huerta; the association later became the United Farm Workers.

Thanks to Mr. Chávez and his supporters many people were and are saved from being exposed to pesticides. If he had not fought for this cause, tons of people would be sick even now. He and his supporters risked their lives to save us and farm workers from that poison that was supposed to kill bugs.

My brother got really sick. The sickness he had lasted over a month. He had a really high fever and a really bad cold. The reason I said this is because it reminds me of the people that got sick from being exposed to pesticides.

Mr. Chávez never stopped, he kept on his goal. He was threatened but never stopped he got sick and arrested for his beliefs but never stopped. He is an American Hero. I would like to become a leader one day, too. I also would like to fight for the less fortunate and defend them from injustice.

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