Widespread foreclosures of homes and other real property can have a devastating effect in the life of a family. But good things can occur even as a result of foreclosure and financial loss.
According to the websites maintained by the California Department of Education and the United Farm Workers, a son was born on March 31, 1927 to a Mexican-American family in Yuma, Arizona. The family named the son Cesar. This son grew up in a small adobe home, and his family owned a small grocery store and ranch. But the family home and ranch were lost as a result of the economic downturn in the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The father agreed to clear 80 acres of land in exchange for a deed to 40 acres of land that adjoined the family home, but the agreement was later broken. The father then borrowed money to buy the land, but then could not pay the interest on the loan, and as a result the land was sold to the original owner. The family’s home was lost because they could not afford to keep it.
The family moved to California in order to find work, and they became migrant farm workers along with other workers who had lost their homes. They moved from field to field and from farm to farm picking and harvesting crops and vegetables. Cesar didn’t have much education; he only graduated from the eighth grade. His father could not work because of an accident, and Cesar did not want to see his mother go to work in the fields as a farm worker. Cesar therefore chose to not attend High School but to instead he chose to become a migrant farm worker. In 1944 he joined the military for two years. After he was discharged from the service, he married and began raising a family. He lived in very difficult circumstances.
Though his own formal education was very limited, Cesar became passionate about the need for education. He felt the only way for him to break the cycle of poverty was to work hard so that he could send his children to college. He not only saw education as the road to a better future for himself and his family, but he also saw education as a basis for improving the entire community around him. He is reported to have said that “The end of all education should surely be service to others.”
Concerning the need for justice, he is reported to have said “The love for justice that is in us is not only the best part of our being but it is also the most true to our nature.” For more details on his life, point your browser to the website of the United Farm Workers at
Cesar Chavez experienced discrimination and unfair treatment first-hand. He worked long and hard advocating fair treatment of farm workers.
The State of California has declared March 31 as a state Holiday in honor of Cesar Chavez. In March of 2011, the President of the United States declared March 31 of each year as “Cesar Chavez” day for the entire United States. In his Presidential Proclamation concerning the establishment of the day, President Barack Obama declared : “Our Nation’s story of progress is rich with profound struggle and great sacrifice, marked by the selfless acts and fearless leadership of remarkable Americans. A true champion for justice, Cesar Chavez advocated for and won many of the rights and benefits we now enjoy, and his spirit lives on in the hands and hearts of working women and men today. As we celebrate the anniversary of his birth, we honor Cesar Chavez’s lasting victories for American workers and his noble methods in achieving them. . . . I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate service, community, and educational programs to honor Cesar Chavez’s enduring legacy.”