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Cesar Chavez at a United Farm Workers’ rally in 1974. (Source: Wikimedia commons)

Hispanic Heritage Month is over, but it’s never too late to honor one of history’s most dynamic Hispanic-American activists, Cesar Chavez.

A key player in the Latino civil rights movement, Chavez made a huge impact on farm worker unions that boycotted grapes in California during the 1960s.

With an eventual victory, Chavez became an iconic face for the Latino and Hispanic community.

Here’s what Chavez represented as a civil rights movement activist.

C – Civil rights: Born during the Great Depression, Chavez learned the hard lessons in life. This led him to be a natural leader who ultimately fought for civil rights for Latino and Hispanic workers. Chavez formed the United Farm Workers organization which stood for human rights.

H – Hispanic heritage: Although Chavez was born in America, he had Latino roots and often faced the hardships other Hispanics also struggled against. Chavez knew his rights as an American and knew that bitter racism and backbreaking work was not how Hispanics should be treated.

A – Activist: Also known as the “great organizer,” Chavez always put his plans into action. With strikes and boycotts that protested against California grape growers, Chavez devoted himself to the poorest workers in America and sought to improve their lives.

V – Victory: Along with his plans, Chavez and his followers kept up with the boycotts and strikes until they tasted victory. However, it didn’t end until Chavez dedicated himself to a fast, going without food or water, lasting over 25 days. This drove his point home and Chavez was able to get the most powerful grape industry owners to finally agree to his terms.

E – Efforts and elections: During the late 1960s, Chavez was emerging on the national political scene. Although he was born from humble beginnings as a child of immigrant parents, Chavez was able to rise to the podium with his vision for human rights for field laborers.

Z – Zero tolerance for violence: Although Chavez promoted strikes across California, he advocated non-violent protests, believing violence and aggression was not how their civil rights movement should progress. Therefore, Chavez was able to achieve success without partaking in violent acts.

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