Cesar Chavez & Dolores Huerta:
Fighters who Fought the Good Fight
Above – A photo of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta at the height of their fighting abilites in the early 1970’s.
Cover Photo – Chavez and Huerta were the subject images for many murals made throughout the Southwest. On the right hand side of the cover photo for this article are the Spanish words, “Si, se puede” the slogan for the UFW which translates to “Yes, one can.” or roughly “Yes, it’s possible.”
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
– 2 Timothy 4:7
Scan through any given list of famous people born beneath the sign of the Ram and you’re bound to find a goodly number of boxing champions along with a high proportion of military leaders of renown.
For the typical Aries, fighting comes naturally.
Ruled by Mars, the planet named after the Roman god of War, being aggressive coupled with an inclination to fight for what one wants are the core components which form the foundation of the Aries personality.
With that said, over the course of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, society has marked for posterity the lives of two exceptional people, both born beneath the sign of the Ram. The strength and determination displayed by these two Ariens while at the height of their powers were notoriously well–known. Their spitfire personalities garnered themselves reputations for being the fiercest of fighters by approaching every battle with a “Never Say Die” attitude.
And it’s precisely because of their ability to express their natural Arien tendencies that schools, streets, and even days of the calendar year have been dedicated in their honor.
These two fighters bravely went to battle in order to champion the rights and needs of those who were the most disadvantaged. Both children of Mars waged war in the front line trenches representing those who had neither the resources nor the willpower to defend themselves or their individual rights.
And the battle tactic of choice employed by these two Ram charged warriors?
One that was highly atypical for both their sign and the times in which they fought hardest. A combative approach that although most unusual was the most effective way for both Aries to, as earlier mentioned in the Bible’s chapter of Timothy, “Fight the good fight of Faith”.
Mexican Americans Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta fought for their cause using the very UN-Aries battle tactic of non-violence.
March 31st – Cesar Chavez Day (incorporated 1996)
March 31st – A bombastic time of year as evidenced by the last day of the third calendar month being described in old farming almanacs from the Northern Hemisphere with an aggressively combative phrase whenever it’s been said that “March goes out like a lion”.
Although most were taught the inverse of the phrase listed above, I was raised with the version said initially by Laura Ingalls Wilder whose life the show “Little House on the Prairie” was based on and I can attest first hand to it being apropos for my native area of New England.
The date officially assigned by the American government to commemorate the life of Cesar Chavez is significant in many ways. March 31st takes place during the mid-point of the sign of Aries, which as mentioned earlier, has allegorically been likened to the fearsome fighting traits of the King of the Jungle. The last day of March also marks when the activist and champion of social change, Cesar Chavez, entered this plane of existence.
Said in more straightforward Arien terms – March 31st, the day officially deemed by President Obama to be “Cesar Chavez Day”, which is a state holiday in California, Texas, and Colorado, also happens to be the birthday of the great civil rights leader as well, with 2017 marking the Freedom Fighter’s 90th.
Being born on a day linked with lion roaring (March 31st) AND during an astrological time period known for its aggressive personality traits (Aries), it would be natural to presume the overall behavior patterns of a labor leader born under these conditions could be likened to a pit bull with a toothache having some serious rage issues.
Not so with Cesar Chavez.
Standing even shouldered alongside a naturally strong temperament to fight, the Aries warrior possessed empathy for the suffering of others, based on the hardships he and his family underwent throughout his exceptionally difficult childhood.
The second eldest of six children, Chavez’s family lost their Arizona home a few years following his birth in 1927. During the hardest economic years this country has experienced, otherwise known as The Great Depression, Cesar’s father, Librado, desperately searched for any kind of work or odd job. In order to survive, the Chavez family moved to California, with every member partaking in the low paying, back breaking labor of migrant farm work.
Cherries and Beans in the Spring.
Corn and Grapes in the Summer.
Cotton in the Autumn.
Peas and Lettuce in the Winter.
The Chavezes settled around whichever crop needed to be picked and harvested and never for too long. During his elementary school years from 1st to 8th grade, Cesar Chavez would attend 38 different grammar schools in total.
Even tougher than the typical working hours of the migrant laborer, which usually began at 3AM and lasted until dusk, the Chavez family had to face deplorable living conditions, often with no running water, sanitation, or electricity. During especially hard hit times, the 8 member clan had to live out of their one run down car. Chavez recalled having to fight off intrusive rats as a child, which the family often would encounter at night whenever they were forced to sleep outside due to temporary housing not being made readily available.
Like Cesar Chavez, Dolores Fernandez Huerta was also a Mexican American born beneath the sign of the Ram, (April 10th to be exact), and like her Aries male counterpart, she too developed a strong sense of empathetic understanding by observing the suffering of others.
Huerta’s empathy was instilled and reinforced by her mother, Alicia, who owned and ran a 70 room hotel located within the mining and farming communities of Stockton, California. Alicia Fernandez offered temporary housing to migrant worker families for affordable prices and many times would provide free lodging to the most disadvantaged.
The plight of the migrant laborer followed Dolores into her young adulthood, when she briefly attempted to forge an educational career as a grammar school teacher.
Devastatingly, the ones who pay the highest price among those that suffer are children. Upon witnessing this first hand with her own students, the young Aries felt compelled to fight.
“I couldn’t tolerate seeing kids come to class hungry and needing shoes. I thought I could do more by organizing farm workers than by trying to teach their hungry children.” – Dolores Huerta
The two Aries fatedly crossed paths in the front line trenches while battling for the rights of the migrant farm worker during the 1950’s. Together, as a labor rights team, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta would go on to form the National Farm Workers Association in 1962 that would later evolve into the UFW, or United Farm Workers.
“Our separate struggles are really one. A struggle for freedom, for dignity, and for humanity.” – Telegram from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Cesar Chavez during his first hunger strike in 1968
According to PBS.org, in their documentary about Chavez, Huerta, and the UFW entitled “The Fight in the Fields”, the United Farm Workers was the only union of its kind that was able to successfully defend the rights of those who grow and harvest crops.
Your Author believes the foundation behind the UFW’s success lay with the double Aries leadership team of Chavez and Huerta who naturally in turn, never gave up the fight.
“The two made a great team. Chavez was the dynamic leader and speaker and Huerta was a skilled organizer and tough negotiator.” – Biography.com
Besides both being born under the sign of leadership, what made Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta’s joint efforts so powerfully effective was the two Aries’ active choice to never allow violence into any of their battle tactics.
“There is no such thing as defeat in non-violence.” – Cesar Chavez
Inspired by a holy man born beneath the polar opposite sign of the Ram, Chavez and Huerta not only embraced the non-violent teachings of Libran, Mahatma Gandhi, the two Aries applied the Hindu saint’s benevolent approach to their many labor struggles.
Fighting for the minimum requirements within the American work environment such as toilets, rest periods, clean water, and health benefits, Cesar and Dolores waged war in the name of the disadvantaged by incorporating the non-violent, but effective combat methods of boycotting, organizing marches and protests, along with drawing the attention of others through the implementation of the hunger strike.
More than the average person, the typical Aries optimally functions best when their most basic of human needs are met. First, and most important of these human needs is Food. During one of his most effective hunger strikes which protested the use of pesticides in grape production, Cesar Chavez at the age of 61 went without food for a remarkable 36 days.
Your Author dares every Aries to attempt going without grub for an extra 36 minutes the next time they should find their Ram charged selves in a state of being seriously hungry.
Through their fearless actions and endless efforts, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta not only improved the lives of the American migrant farm worker, this father of 8 and mother of 11’s ability to draw awareness to their fight through their non-violent battle tactics has made our country a better and more enlightened place for all of us.
This better and more enlightened country has been expressing its thankful appreciation as of late with both Arien warriors being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That, and a movement has recently formed which proposes the time period taking place during the mid-point of the sign of the Ram occurring between the birthdays of these two fire signed fighters of renown, aka the first week of April, be officially called “Cesar Chavez/Dolores Huerta Commemoration Week”.
On Cesar Chavez Day in 2013, a local radio station interviewed pedestrians on Cesar Chavez Blvd. in Los Angeles asking if they knew anything about the person whom the street they were walking on was named after.
Not a single person did.
May a day eventually come in the not so distant future when the American public will be as equally familiar with the names of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta as they are with other noteworthy American namesakes the likes of MLK and JFK.
A cause your Author believes is well worth fighting for.
A U.S. Postal Service stamp honoring the life of Cesar Chavez was issued on the 10th anniversary of the civil rights leader’s death in 2003. (defense.gov)
Co-founder and only woman on the board of the UFW, Dolores Huerta is still going strong in her 80’s. “When people are feeling discouraged, she says, ‘Oh great, this is a great opportunity to organize!‘” says Dolores’ 11th child, Camila Chavez. (doloreshuerta.org)
Logo for the UFW or United Farm Workers founded by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in 1962. (wikipedia.org)
Cesar Chavez visits Dolores Huerta as she recovers from an assault by SF police in 1988. During a peaceful protest rally, Huerta at nearly 60 years old was beaten with a baton, resulting in several broken ribs and a destroyed spleen. (reuther.wayne.edu)
Along with receiving the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights in 1998, Dolores Huerta was bestowed the greatest accolade for an American civilian when she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2011. (whitehouse.gov)
Speaking of Presidents, on October 8th, 2012 President Obama proclaimed the former home and grave site of Cesar Chavez in Keene, Ca. a National Historic Landmark and Monument. (wikipedia.org)
In 2014, Canana Films released a self entitled biopic film about the life of Cesar Chavez directed by Diego Luna and starring Michael Pena as Chavez and Rosario Dawson as Dolores Huerta. (imdb.com)
“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. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.” – Cesar Chavez (wikipedia.org)
*Brad Kronen’s book “Love in the Stars” published by Llewellyn Worldwide, Inc. is available for purchase at your local book seller or online at amazon.com at the link listed below.