Nonviolence leader Cesar Chavez was born near Yuma, Arizona, USA on March 31, 1927. Last month would have marked his 84th birthday. He died in his sleep in 1993.
We honor Cesar Chavez because he bridged social justice mountaintops — dedicating his life to fight for the rights of people, for the preservation of the environment and for protection of animals. He recognized that the social justice movements are not separate but intimately tied to one another. He often remarked how violence is cut from the same cloth — whether it is violence against people, violence against the environment, or violence against animals.
Cesar advocated Nonviolence as a strategy and as a way of life. He encouraged people to stop talking and start walking — don’t wait! — when you see injustice, put Nonviolence into action.
He was one of the first to remind us to live our lives consistently with our values. This includes consuming consciously — buying only fair-labor products, environmentally friendly products, and animal-friendly products (Cesar was vegan).
The future won’t be just and bright simply because we want it badly enough. We must take personal action and responsibility to do the right thing. Cesar put it this way, “Talk is cheap… it’s how we organize and live our lives everyday that tells what we believe in.”
Celebrate Cesar Chavez’s birthday with us by taking action — connect with the impact of your everyday choices. Every dollar you spend is a vote. Every time you choose not to buy something it’s a vote. You voted yesterday. You’ll vote today — maybe hundreds of times. Did you vote for human rights, the environment, compassion for animals, and Nonviolence? Or did you vote for greed, environmental destruction, cruelty, and violence? Are your choices in line with your values?
Take the opportunity to expand your circle of compassion and learn more about a social justice issue you may not visit regularly. Ask your new friends on those social justice mountaintops what you can do to support them — today and everyday. Yes, we can keep on talking, but let’s start walking our talk, too.
Happy birthday, Cesar!