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Grade Level: 5-6
Region: 3
Student: Dominique Aranda
Teacher: Linda Lopez Corley
Chapter: Santa Maria Elementary EA


César Chávez: Our Hero


César Chávez was born on March 31, 1927. He was a great leader who stood up against the things that were wrong and fought to change them. When Chávez was ten, he and his family became migrant farm workers so he experienced the difficulties that farm workers faced. He saw how farm workers were paid very little money, were given no breaks, and were mistreated by the farm owners. He wanted to improve how farm workers were treated so he started the National Farm Workers Association. He dedicated his life to improving the working and living conditions of all migrant families. Chávez affected my life because my father was once a farm worker. Chávez’s work is important to my family and me because we were able to experience the changes that César Chávez accomplished to help migrant families. I share my father’s story because I want people to understand how hard it was to be a farm worker and how César Chávez worked to improve their working conditions by applying social justice and education principles.

In 1971, at the age of sixteen my father started working in the fields of California. He earned money for his parents and siblings to buy food, clothing and shelter. He worked gathering many vegetables and fruits such as bell peppers, lettuce, and strawberries. No matter what time of the year it was, whether if was cold, hot or raining, my father would still work. He would work 10 to 11 hours a day, six days a week. His muscles would ache from having to bend down all day to cut the vegetables using a knife. When he would come home he felt very tired. He did this for thirty years! Even though working in the fields was very hard, my father told me that working conditions were better than before because of César Chávez’s dedication to social justice. Chávez believed that everyone should have fair working conditions and should not be mistreated regardless of their background. By the time my father started working in the fields he had access to bathrooms, two breaks per day, and higher pay. I appreciate how Chávez worked hard to achieve social justice for farm workers including my father.

Education was another principle that Chávez believed was important in our communities. He helped farm workers learn how to read and write because he felt that this would improve their lives. I chose this principle because I think that a good education will give me a good job. I believe you can have a better future if you get an education. Chávez taught farm workers how to read and write so that they could vote and be able to change the law to improve their lives. I want to improve my life by getting an education so I can pass on my knowledge to others. Some day I will attend college. I will help my family and set a good example for the children that are younger than me. Then one day they will want to go to college too!

César Chávez is one of the most important heroes in America. He died on April 23, 1993 at the age of sixty-six, but he will always be remembered as a great leader. His work is proof that you can accomplish anything. As the daughter of a farm worker I want to honor Chávez because if he had not accomplished what he did, my father’s days working in the fields would have been harder. I thank César Chávez for fighting for our communities and achieving social justice for many migrant families including mine. Chávez inspires me to stand up for myself and do whatever it takes to change the things that I feel are unjust so that I can make the world a better place for my family and the future generations to come.

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