Against All Odds: Celebrating the Legacy of Cesar Chavez

Monday, March 31, is a state holiday in honor of Cesar Chavez, the leader of the United Farm Workers who fought for the labor and human rights of some of the most mistreated laborers in America. Coinciding with the holiday, a movie about his life, entitled simply “Cesar Chavez,” is opening in theaters nationwide.

National AFT chief of staff Mark Richard, who worked as an organizer alongside Chavez in the 1970s, notes that AFT is offering a Cesar Chavez lesson plan from Share My Lesson, the online treasure trove of classroom resources, which you can download here. You can use the lesson plan to teach about the life and impact of Chavez and colleagues in the movement to build a union to fight for fair treatment and dignity for farmworkers.

Richard says: “Cesar Chavez is a symbol for many Americans—including community activists, students, organizers, and workers—who have learned from his spirit and his commitment to change through nonviolent direct action.

“This is the first major film about the life of Cesar Chavez. We don’t get many opportunities to see union leaders as heroes in popular culture, and it is long overdue recognition for Cesar’s work and accomplishments. We hope you’ll take advantage of the moment to help lift up that story.  Download the Share My Lesson materials to educate your classrooms and communities.

“Cesar taught me that with personal sacrifice, ganas and a commitment to civil rights, even the mightiest walls of oppression can be toppled. Viva la Causa!

“As Cesar said, ‘Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot UN-educate 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.’

“Si, se puede!”

P.S. Don’t know where to watch the film? Find a theater showing “Cesar Chavez” near you.

P.P.S. You can help honor the legacy of Cesar Chavez by joining in the petition to have Cesar Chavez Day declared an annual National Day of Service. Just click