Grade Level: 9-12
Student: Allison Rosiles
Teacher: Robert Davila, Jr.
Chapter: Association of Calexico Teachers
“How a Single Person can Make a Difference?”
When most of us hear the name César Chávez, to be honest, we don’t really respond to it as we should. We disregard how without him farm workers would have horrible working conditions, low wages, and no rights that would protect them. He changed our society by making peoples’ voices heard and we don’t even realize it.
César Chávez once quoted, “There are many reasons for why a man does what he does. To be himself he must be able to give it all. If a leader cannot give it all, he cannot expect his people to give anything.” Dolores Huerta was one of the people who gave her all. She along with César Chávez founded the National Farm Workers Association in 1962. With both of their determination and dedication their union changed how farm workers were treated. They were now treated as people not things and were now listened to when in need.
Just like César Chávez, I too stand up for my people and school. I take place in the Associated Student Body at my school where we make our peers’ voices heard. In some occasions they feel their ideas or concerns get ignored or they simply feel that they are not listened to. It is our job to make sure that their voices are heard just like César Chávez made the voices of the farm workers heard.
“It’s ironic that those who till the soil, cultivate and harvest the fruit, vegetables, and other foods that fill your tables with abundance have nothing left for themselves.” When I heard this quote I stopped and realized it was true. We, including myself never stop and realize that we have everything we possibly need plus more and how the people who give so much have been exposed to hazardous chemicals, putting themselves at risk to skin cancer due to the toxins that have been part of their work environment. It is hard to conceive that farm workers would work in such terrible working conditions; like with no drinking water, no access to portable restrooms, no lunch breaks, and sometimes barely short breaks during each and every workday. It was César Chávez who changed the lives of farm workers by boycotting for higher wages and the control of pesticides used, and in both cases he was able to make an impact in favor of the farm workers. In 1952 he was recruited into an activist group that fought racial and economic discrimination against Chicanos. He encouraged them to register to vote and traveled throughout California making encouraging speeches to Latinos everywhere.
A way I’ve tried to make a difference in relation to civil rights issues has been through my passion for softball. I live in the small town of Calexico and as a small town with high unemployment and low income families, equipment and supplies needed for the team are sometimes hard to come by. One day my softball team and I made an appearance in a city hall monthly meeting. We discussed how in exchange of us helping and representing our community we should receive support from that same community that we work so hard to represent. We felt it was our right to speak out and let our voice be heard by informing them that just as we represent and help our community, they should in return support us with equipment and a place to play the sport that we love so much.
Discrimination has and always will make an impact on daily life. César Chávez did not just speak out for the injustice of the workers, but also for the working class and minorities showing them that they could fight for their rights. César Chávez’s cause impacted the way people see Latinos and the way they are treated. “Years of misguided teaching have resulted in the destruction of the best in our society, in our culture and in the environment” he quoted. César helped many families by giving them a sense of security. Latinos were not the only ones who were misjudged. We all cannot help and stare when we see a sick child, we look at how he dresses, talks, and even acts but we don’t look at what is really important, their heart.
For my part I have applied to volunteer at the IVCEC (Imperial Valley Center for Exceptional Children). This is a center that focuses on children with special needs, sicknesses and other things that don’t allow them to attend a regular school. I have been waiting for the day that I get the ok to start as I am sure César Chávez waited for the day farm workers would be treated fairly. Just applying makes me feel like the happiest person ever because I am letting those kids know that I care. As César Chávez once said, “It is not about the grapes or lettuce; it is always about the people”.
As César Chávez grew up his parents always spoke to him about the importance of an education. How you could accomplish any goal you plan to reach as long as you set your mind to it. My education is very important to me as well, I plan to get enough scholarships to live my dream and become an engineer and change peoples lives in any way possible. While writing this essay I didn’t just learn more about a true Mexican American hero I learned more about myself as well. I learned that I too take many things for granted my parents for example we think they will always be there for us to give us what we need and comfort us but that’s not all they are for. They are there to teach us in any way they can and make us a better person in general to work for what we want and to cherish what we have, even if you think you have nothing you have the most valuable thing you can ever have people who love you. I have also learned to never give up and if I really want something I can always get it. This essay most importantly showed me that I am somebody and that I can live to change the world all I need to do is make a stand and not be afraid of what people will think of me.