- Albert Einstein"
Forty years ago I parked my car out front a liquor store in San Jose to buy a soft drink when a young waif of a woman carrying a red flag with a black eagle in a circle of white asked me not to go inside. I asked why. She said it would help farm workers fighting for justice because the store carried a brand of wine from a company that was fighting workers’ efforts to join the United Farm Workers Union. The encounter would change my life and draw me from college to spend about two years working for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. Now four decades have passed, and we see a new film about Chavez and the struggle, la lucha.
The union was far from perfect and so was Chavez, and maybe the film overlooks, or looks past, that reality. Still, I am heartened to see the honoring of a movement that changed so many lives, way beyond matters of the union, to more personal matters of the heart, of dignity, of nonviolence, of equality, and awareness in so many areas, from gender to race, to class, and eventually coming to accept anger, forgiveness, and imperfections in ourselves, all of us. Go see the film, read the critical books, and when you get a chance, talk to the farm workers and organizers who met, worked with and knew this many-faceted man and the movement he helped inspire. Today, I re-posted a few old photos and reflections about my tiny little sliver of involvement in that movement, a time that remains indelible, Que viva la lucha, Que viva el sueno.
I can’t imagine…
I can’t imagine we share the same sand
Or see the same friends on different days.
I can’t imagine you haven’t moved to a new shore
Where the drum and the harp make music
Like that mindless spider
Washed from the water spout
Who climbs again as the teardrops roll,
Looking within for love from without,
Yet not ready to let that nothing go.
No nursery rhyme ever called for this much courage