Review: Power of the people: 'Cesar Chavez' — Time for a national holiday Special

Posted Mar 30, 2014 by Ruth Hull
"Cesar Chavez" is a must-see movie about a man who spoke for all the people and showed us we can win. America has celebrated genocide and genocidists with holidays. It's time that there was an official national holiday for the people - Cesar Chavez Day.
Workers harvest strawberries at a farm near Oxnard  California
Workers harvest strawberries at a farm near Oxnard, California
Joe Klamar, AFP/File
Cesar Chavez never ran for public office. He was never rich and never tried to be rich. He cared more protecting us - the people - than about himself. Decades before households across America recognized the name, "Cesar Chavez," Mohandas K. Gandhi had fasted, taken beatings and gone to jail for his people. Cesar Chavez, was an American-born inspiration who fasted, took beatings, risked death, went to jail and devoted his life to the American people so that we could have decent wages and humane working conditions.
"Si. Se puede!" or "Yes. We can!" It is a phrase that has resonated with the people ever since Chavez popularized it in the 1960's. Leaders wanting some of the glory earned by Chavez have adopted it for their own selfish pursuits. But if you go to rallies for the people, you will still hear this chant echoed for altruistic reasons because the power has been in us - the people - all along.
Chavez was an American-board child of a family that owned and lost a small farm. Like with many of today's families, a bad economy took his family's possessions. So, while a child, Chavez saw how easy it was for a family to go from having to not having. Instead of getting into the selfishness of "me-first," Chavez put his knowledge of survival to work in helping others and he showed that we all can survive - regardless of how evil our leaders are - if we band together and fight for each other. As you watch the engaging true story, you see that even back when Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon chose to misuse their power and authority to undermine human rights and terrorize American citizens on behalf of greedy human rights abusers, Chavez was able to take his message internationally to Europe and get the international communty to back the American people over our un-American Government.
The message of the struggle of United Farm Workers wasn't just about Americans who were slaving in subhuman conditions in one sector of life, Cesar Chavez and the farm workers showed that there is no area of oppression in American life that cannot be changed by will-power, by organizing and by standing up for our rights and the rights of our brothers and sisters.
Others working with Chavez also became American inspirations and heroes in their own right. These selfless heroes included Cesar's wife Helen, who insisted on allowing herself to be arrested and who putting herself at risk of harm and death to protect others. I and my daughter Natasha were grateful to have had the honor to meet and participate, at a much later time, on causes with Delores Huerta, a hero in her own right. Delores, like Chavez was a community service organizer. Delores co-founded the United Farm Workers. She worked side by side with Cesar and Helen, and put freedom, her life and everything she had on the line to protect the rights of people she barely knew when she came to fight for them. She proved that a woman has the power to make as much of a difference as any man.
New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy, was also inspired to join the struggle. imagine what kind of America we would have had if Kennedy had not been assassinated. Imagine if the greedy powers that have come to run this country had not been able to prevent Robert Kennedy from becoming President. Imagine if the assassin had been disarmed or stopped on his way through the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel.
The Diego Luna Film about Chavez, though historically factual, is riveting and inspiring. There are no slow parts. As people and children see it, they feel empowered to go out and change the world. It should is a movie for all ages. At points, it has the audience cheering , angry and crying, and those who like happy endings will be glad to know that it finishes on a high note. The acting is superb and believable. This is an "A+" quality film but will not likely get it's due at Oscar time next year, partially because it came out early in the year and partially because money talks when it comes to the Academy. Though this has the quality of a high budget picture, it was not heavily financed by corporations ready to put money into guaranteeing that their own films obtain the Best Picture Oscar. Did you see Fruitvale Station, easily one of the best pictures of 2013, make it to the list of Best Picture Nominees? Did you see Michael B. Jordon nominated for Best Actor after providing what was likely the best male performance of 2013? Maybe it's time actor power took back both the Screen Actors Guild and time that actors, writers and others artists took back the Academy from the money-hungry finance brokers.
Though he is not in the movie, the Cesar Chavez film reminds the public of what Jerry Brown used to stand for. On June 5, 1975, it was Jerry Brown who signed into law the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act (CALRA). This legislation established collective bargaining rights for farm workers. Imagine what it was like before Chavez and before this legislation. Picture yourself being arrested or beaten for asking for a toilet. (Domestic violence victims know what it's like to be physically oppressed and beaten by control-freaks who believe they has ownership rights over others. However, those who haven't lived under the thumb of another person may have difficulty understanding the plight and feelings of the oppressed.) The success of the American farm workers was the success of the human as their success made a statement of "no" to inhuman treatment of the masses.
For decades, tens of millions of people and children have called for a national holiday in honor of Cesar Chavez. In 1996, to a round of applause, a five year old civil rights activist named Natasha Hull-Richter gave a speech to her classmates in the upper middle class suburbs of Orange County on the importance of honoring Cesar Chavez with a national holiday. If children everywhere are able get the importance of what he did, what will it take for Congress to enact this national people's rights holiday? legacyhavChavez's legacy is the knowledge that the power is in each of us, "Si. Se puede," or "Yes, we can." When Chavez led that chant, he wasn't running for office or grabbing for power. He was there for the people - for all of us.
President Barack Obama has jumped on the bandwagon, quoting Cesar Chavez and calling for a national holiday in his honor. This is a step in the right direction and the people can only hope that Obama will learn something from Chavez's integrity - rather than simply mouthing populist soundbites and pretending to stand for something he doesn't. But Obama might want to watch out for the legacy of Cesar Chavez. What would happen to Obama's wealthy Wall Street backers if those inspired by Chavez turned the Occupy Wall Street movement into a successful boycott on the banks and Wall Street giants who put Obama into office and received back government funds back from Obama in return.
What if we the people boycotted all supermarkets selling genetically modified foods and started our own co-op stores with safe foods for our children? What if we had refused to leave OUR PROPERTY when Obama's powerful friends sent in police in riot gear and launched an attack with rubber bullets and tear gas against peaceful American citizens occupying the public property that belonged to the Citizens of the United States?
The difference Chavez made can be made again. There is no reason to accept defeat by Wall Street. America can boycott Wall Street. The people can boycott the IMF (International Monetary fund). The people can resort to barter, if necessary, and forget the banks. The 99% don't need the 1%. It's just an illusion that we do. The 1% need the acquiescence of the 99% As soon as the people realize this, the 99% will finally be able to take charge of America and will finally have the freedom and rights that we earned the day we were born.
The worst nightmare of the 1% would be if every American watched the film, Cesar Chavez, got it and took back our country?
Here are some other videos worth watching.