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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 23, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta The Letltbridge Herald Third Section Lethbridge, Alberta, Thursday, November PAGES 25 TO SI GRAPES, LETTUCE, FAST AND BOYCOTTS Chavez mixes religion, politics By MURRAY OLDERMAN PALO ALTO, Calif. (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 to be en- tranced. For this is Cesar 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 Seattle swal- lowed with 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 Eiey eat. For Cesar Chavez is the head of the Un i t e d Farm Work- ers Organizing C o m. m i ttee (UFWOC) 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 faces of academia, and he says, "Our greatest accom- plishment is not contracts or benefit, 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 I 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- port against Proposition 22 on California's Nov. 7 ballot, a measure initiated by farm pro- duce growers to prohibit certain kinds of strikes and boycotts by agicultural workers. The proposition, which Cha- vez charged would hit at the core of his movement because "it would take away the biggest weapon we was defeated. The states of Kansas, Idaho anil Arizona already have a similar law on ttie books. Cha- vez claims his followers have collected signatures, enough to force a recall elec- tion of the Arizona governor. Last spring Chavez endured his second public fast to call atten- tion to his cause. "We fasted in he says, "not out of fear and not for publicity, but to get to the hearts of men who proposed this legislation." Chavez became a national fi- gure with his first public fast in 1968 at the time of the "Great Boycott" when he was at- tempting to get the grape grow- ers of California to recognize his union. There is a religiosity about his appeal much like that of Mohandas Gandhi, the spiri- 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 worker himself, organized the National Farm Workers Association (which two years later blended 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 PART IV PICTURE QUIZ 5 POINTS My famous wife and I celebrated our 26thwedding anniversary November 20th. Who am I? HOW DO YOU RATE7 71 to 10 point! Good, It lo 100 poltili TOP SCOREI 61 lo 70 pointi Filr. II to M pointi Eudltnt (0 or Undtt? 11 H'mml FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTION Should citizens be required by Itw to vote? YOUR NEWS QUIZ PART I NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL Give yourself 10 points for each correct answer. 1 The Grey Cup is a championship trophy in which Canadian sport? a-hockey b-footbaU c- skiing 2 After whom U the Grey Cup named? I The term "seasonally-adjusted" often is used In news stories relating to a-unemployment b-stock prices c-fishing catches 4 In the U.S. elections, did the Republican Party gain control of 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 an early human. The find was made In a-Indla c-Franoe 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 of fixed stars c-intended for attack d-intended 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.....Dr. UrhoKekkonen 2.....Jeanne Martin Clsse a-UNSecurity Council President for Novem- ber b-Head of State, Argen- tina 3.....Alejandro Lanusse c-Presldent, Ireland Westwood 6.....Eunon de 1120-72 d-Chalrman, U.S. Dem- ocratic Natlonil'Com- mlttee Finland Inc. 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 A'ith union recognition and min- mum 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 s no time limit on boycotts. That's probably our greatest advantage. We don't have to lave 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 ;he price even before it affects :he 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 about 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 vears. We'll get there. It just :akes time." Busy Time does concern him on a personal level. He has not spent one full week at home since ast May. Once headquartered n the small city of Delano to the San Joaquin Valley, where his movement sprung up and where its progress is manifested STUDENTS Save This Practice Examination! ANSWERS ON REVERSE PAGE Valuable Reference Material for Exams. by a farm workers' clinic, Cha- vez has retreated with his family into the Tehachapi 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 lo the publicized fasts. "I've been fasting since I was seven years he says, "so it wasn't a stranger to me. I've had 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 beco'mes a very Important element." In his Cesar has become a force lor all the min- ority groups, rural and urban, because they see what this Mei- lean American, who even went to jail in December, 1970 (and was freed Christmas) for hta 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 problems the Chicanes have. We don't do as much as we'd like to. Most of the people !n the urban areas are only generation removed from farm workers, so there'i a closeness there. But we don't have the time because we're under attack all the time." So Cesar Chavez does what not really in his nature and goei out once more to face another group, in another alien setting, because be is convinced that v.-hat he Is doing must be done. (Newspaper Enterprise Am.) ;