Desde hace ocho años, Ismael Contreras y su esposa, Consuelo Magaña, han trabajado en la agricultura, específicamente en la pizca de frutas y vegetales por el oeste de los Estados Unidos. “Fue muy difícil venirnos y viajar hacia los Estados Unidos sabiendo que llegaríamos a un estado donde no conoceríamos a nadie”, dice Magaña. Para ellos la decisión de emigrar no fue fácil especialmente cuando tuvieron que dejar todo lo que tenían en México y comenzar desde cero. Por muchos años, hombres y mujeres de diferentes partes del mundo han inmigrado a los Estados Unidos a trabajar en la pizca de frutas y vegetales. Algunos llegan con visas de trabajo mientras otros cruzan a los Estados Unidos sin autorización.
Recently, I shocked a fellow worker and a few others by outing myself as a Latino community activist. An “Activist” he said accusatorially. “You cannot be a Latino community activist and an advocate for other causes.” Some people, he added may object to a person who has a strong commitment to a particular group. His response both surprised and offended me. While there is a good point in the sense that there is a negative side to being obsessive about commitment, we cannot forget that both he and I are committed to making sure the Civil Rights legislation of 1964 benefits all Americans –regardless of what the word preceding the hyphen appended before the word American and that is used so often and divisively in our diverse society. I am reminded that while some may color the word activist with a subjective shade, activism is at the core of the evolutionary rather than revolutionary change in our society.
EL PASO, Texas — César Chávez was a Chicano leader who led the fight in a proud movement in the 1960’s for the rights and dignity of migrant farm workers. He fought so they would receive better treatment and better pay for their hard labor in the fields. By organizing the United Farm Worker and using peaceful protest as a tool for change Chávez gave voice to an entire minority in what can be seen as American free speech at its finest. To the Texas State Board of Education, however, Chávez isn’t worth putting in the high school history books. “Personally I believe that not mentioning him [Chávez] would be taking away the identity of people who really struggled and managed to shape the political landscape.