Growing up in a predominately “white” school district in the ’70s, I didn’t have very many opportunities to celebrate my Mexican-American heritage or have a hero to look up to and feel pride for, but I did find one: César Chávez!
Texas celebrates today as César Chávez Day. His dedication to speak for those who do not have a voice and organizing a group of people that no one in society even knew existed deserves recognition long overdue.
Cesar was the first to say “si, se puede” roughly translated “yes, one can,” later used by Barack Obama’s campaign. His use of nonviolence to organize a group of migrant workers, to speak for the human rights of a group of people without a voice made me as a child feel pride to be Mexican-American.
I might not have been able to declare out loud how prideful I felt but I knew that there was someone “like” me that wanted social change.
Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.