si se puede

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As you probably know, whenever I have time, I go into DL classrooms and go over power point presentations about different issues or read stories to students hoping to engage them into our culture and background. Recently everyone is talking about Cesar Chavez, his efforts to help the farm workers, and the new movie about his life. Many of them see Chavez as a hero that came and put an end to the hard working conditions for many migrant workers, some think that all families living in farms or working on the fields today are making good money, but few people (teachers) know the reality of migrant workers. A few days ago, someone ask me to go into a class and talk to the kids about Cesar Chavez and his life, and the question bounced in my head a few seconds and then I said, “si se puede”. Why? Well, we know what Don Cesar did to help improve migrants’ working conditions at that time, how he founded the UFW, and all those days of starvation for “la causa”; Ok, but did everything changed thanks to him? Are our “paisanos” benefiting from that? Yes and no! Of course we have to thank him for all the labor improvements to such group, but even now on days one can found many of our people working in the fields under similar circumstances to those of the 1960’s. Not far away from here, we can find many illegal and legal citizens of the United States working long hours on the fields picking those fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables that we buy at Ralphs or any other store. It might sound like a thing of the past, which is the reason why Chavez marched many miles and boycotted different companies, so we – future generations- can have fair working conditions on the fields, Right?...No, even today things are NOT quite different, the UF... ... middle of paper ... ... thing of the past. “Si se puede” (if possible) is not the same as “Sí se puede” (Yes,it can be done); and unfortunately for all those migrant workers out there, the name of Cesar Chavez is unknown, in fact many of them might think that he is just another worker. I know that we have to teach that he is an important figure in history, and of course we must feel proud that he (alguien de nuestra raza) fought for better living and working conditions for our community, but we should also expose the problems that “our people” face today. If we do not open our students’ eyes, they are going to believe that the world out there is safe, fair, and is waiting for them. They should be expose to these issues, so they know that there is still a lot to do for “nuestra gente”; they must understand that, “ The world is not ready for them, but they should be ready for the world”.

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