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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 23, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta The lethbridge Herald Third Section Lethbridge, Alberta, Thursday, November PAGES a TO GRAPES, LETTUCE, FAST AND BOYCOTTS Chavez mixes religion, politics By MURRAY OLDERMAN PALO ALTO, CaJif. (NBA) He doesn't look very inspiring. He is soft spoken, rather Blight, almost inconspicuous and the microphone, the plat- form and the crowd seem to engulf him. The crowd came Lo be en' tranced. For this is Ccsa- Cha- vez, whose name conjures up the mystical and the elevating for the socially concerned. Because of Cesar Chavez, people from New York and Kansas City and Settle swal- lowed wilh guilt every time they nibbled a sweet table grape for five years. Because of Cesar Ch a v e z, they and people from Boston to Phoenix to San Francisco are presently careful whose let- tuce they eat. For Cesar Chavez is the head of the Un i t e d Farm Work- ers Organizing C o m. m i ttee (UFVVOC) whose weapon to im- prove conditions has been the nationwide boycott. But to the downtrodden, the poor, the eth- nic minorities who are virtual vagrants as migrant farm work- es, he is more than that. He is a symbol of pride, of hope for social dignity. And so as he stands there, this self educated former street corner tough, in the beau- tiful church with the alfresco mural in the middle of Stanford University, facing the collage of beautiful, young, intelligent, white [aces of academia, and he says, "Our greatest accom- plishment is not contracts a: benefits, but that workers for the first time are being treated not as implements but as hu- man beings." He has been introduced by a sonorous professor as "one of the leading religious leaders of our time, with a worldwide rep- utation as a leading practition- er of nonviolence, a refutation of the slogan that religion and politics don't mix." Emotion This symbiotic quality arouses an emotional fervor. "You are going to hear asks a young, bearded one as he rushes to the middle of the university campus. It Is always, simply, Cesar. The emotions are carefully nurtured. "When Cesar comes an- nounces one of his young aides, "you have to learn how to clap." You clap in rhythm to the two syllables of his "Se-sar Ce-sar" like a throng at a football game. At p.m., 39 minutes late, an exalted declaration: "Cesar is The claps begin, reach a crescendo. And out walks this little, swarthy man in a dark green sweater with a mock turtle- neck which virtually hides his shirt, and thick, long black straight hair which sweeps back over his neck. Purpose His purpose in this appear- ance was to rally voter sup- jort against Proposition 22 on California's Nov. 7 ballot, a measure initiated by farm pro- duce growers to prohibit certain unds of strikes and boycotts jy agicultural workers. The proposition, which Cha- vez charged would hit at the core of his movement becaus "it would take away the bigges weapon we was defeatec The states of Kansas, Idah and Arizona already have similar law on tlie books. Cha vcz claims his followers hav collected signatures enough to force a recall elec lion of the Arizona governor Last spring Chavez endured hi second public fast to call atlen tion to his cause. "We fasted in h says, "not out of fear and no for publicity, but to get to th hearts of men who proposed IhL legislation." Chavez became a national fi gure with his first public fas in 1968 at the time of the "Grea Boycott" when he was at templing to get the grape grow ers of California to recognize his union. There is a religiosity about his appeal much like tha of Mohandas Gandhi, the spin tual and political Indian lead er who fasted to dramatize his doctrine of nonviolence. Problem "Brothers and pleads Chavez, "the problem with em ployers and growers is not money. It's a mentality they won't deal with this union. They can't bring themselves to deal with a union led by minority people. They feel if they do rec- ognize a union, they're losing their manhood." It has been exactly 10 years since the obscure Cesar Chavez once a migrant farm wqrkei himself, organized the Nations Farm Workers Association (which two years later blendec into the current There are now 3.5 million farm workers in the United States. Only predominantly Chi- cano as Cesar is, are in his or- ganization. But through his fierce person- al dedication, Cesar Estrada Chavez, has become the single, most important influence for bettering the conditions of the The Lethbridge Herald think J PART IV PICTURE QUIZ 5 POINTS My famous wife and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary November 20th. Who am I? HOW DO YOU RATE? 71 to 10 point! Good, II lo 100 polnli TOP SCOItn 61 lo 70 print! Filr II lo M point! ttaUtnl M _ FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTION Should citizens be required by law to vote? YOUR NEWS QUIZ PART I NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL Give yourself 10 points for each correct answer. I The Grey Cup Is a championship trophy in which Canadian sport? a-hockey b-football c-skiing 1 After whom U the Grey Cup named? I The term "seasonally-adjusted" often 16 used In news stories relating to 7 a-unemployment b-stock prlcei c-flshlng catches In the U.S. elections, did the Republican Party gain control at the Congress as well as keep control of the presidency? Richard Leakey and a group of other anthropol- ogists believe they have found a 2.6-mllllon- year-old skull of in eirly human. The find was made In a-Indla b-Kenya c-France PART II WORDS IN THE NEWS Take 4 points for each word that you can match with its correct meaning. 1.....offensive 2.....nova 3.....retaliatory 4.....constellation. 6.....defensive a-lntended lor revenge b-group ol flxeo. stars c-Intended lor attack d-lntended for protection e-star that suddenly brightens, then dims PART III NAMES IN THE NEWS Take 5 points for names that you can correctly match with the clues. 1.....Di. UrhoKekkonen 2.....Jeanne Martin Class 3.....Alejandro Lanuesg t.....Jean Westwood a-UNSecurity Council President for Novem- ber b-Head of State, Argen- tina c-Presldent, Ireland d-Chalrman, U.S. Dem- ocratic National Com- mittee Finland STUDENTS B.....Eamon da Valera ANSWERS man or woman who works In the fields. The boycott is his weapon. The grape boycott started on Dec. 17, 1965, and ended successfully July wilh union recognition and min- imum wages. More work "Encourage eating says Cesar now. "It means more work for our people. The cause now is the boycott of lettuce, still enduring. In the privacy of a chapel room, he explains the strategy: "We've come to realize there is no time limit on boycotts. That's probably our greatest advantage. We don't have to have It done by tomorrow or the next day. 'It produces many effects we've come to understand and evaluate. For instance, the boy- cott as Its first act Is never one of curtailing sales or stop- ping production. First It affects the price even before it affects the volume. It places the buyer and the employer at a more competitive angle because the buyer begins to see the boycott as a valuable weapon for him. "We've had a b o u t 10 boy- cotts. The grapes is the big one. The lettuce boycott is at the stage where the grape boycott was after about three and a half years. We'll get there. It just takes time." Busy Time does concern him on a persona! level. He has act spent me full week at home since last May. Once headquartered in the small city of Delano in the San Joaquin Valley, where his movement sprung up and where its progress Is manifested by a farm workers' clinic, Cha- vez has retreated with his family into the T e h a c hapi Mountains to the south. He has eight children, the youngest of them 13. "When I spend an hour with he says, "it's total. I for- get about the rest of the world. We've been blessed. We had eight and no problems. They've been very good. One is at UCLA (Cesar never reached the eighth The other three didn't want to go to school. Of the four girls, three are married. One works in the fields. She's very happy. The other three work in the movement." So do his two brothers. Cesar is 45. His health, once frail be- cause of a congenital back problem, Is now good. Dr. Janet Travell, the physician of the Kennedys, treated him. Cesar long ago became the darling of the so called radical chic. Cesar calls Gloria Steinem and Leonard Bernstein and Ethel Kennedy still keep In touch. Sincerity But Cesar, in lifestyle an as- cetic, is not always comfortable in crowds. He doesn't radiate personal dynamism. Sincerity is his bag, even when it comes to the publicized fasts. "I've been fasting since I was seven years he says, "so It wasn't a stranger lo me. I've hsd two public fasts and five lesser ones. My mother fasted and still fasts. "It's a personal witness and defies explaining because un- less you experience it, rea- sons and motivations are diffi- cult to understand. The greatest benefit is that it gives me the strength and courage to con- tinue the struggle, mentally and physically and spiritually. The fast becomes a very Important element." In his Cesar has become a force for all the min- ority groups, rural and urban, i because they see what this Ilex- ican American, who even went to jail in December, 1970 (and was freed Christmas) for his cause, has accomplished for one little segment of the people. Struggle "In struggling for the farm he says, "it spills over into other things, like the urban the Chicanes hive. We don't do as much as we'd like to. Most of the people In the urban areas are only m generation removed from the farm workers, so there'i a closeness there. But we don't have the time because under attack all the time." So Cesar Chavez toes what li not really in his nature and god out once more to face another group, in another alien KtUDf, because he Is convinced that he Is doing must be (Newspaper Enterprise Am.) ;