By Gabe Galligan – Collegiate Staff
Yesterday, Andres Chavez, grandson of Cesar Chavez, presented his lecture “The Legacy of Cesar Chavez.”
Andres Chavez came to Grand Rapids Community College to deliver his grandfather’s message about enacting positive change within a community. It is a message that originated in California, with the farm workers movement established by his grandfather.
Because of his grandfather’s foundation, Chavez grew up in an atmosphere that was centered around core values of non-violence, giving a voice to those who do not have one, and standing up for a greater cause. His speech, which was heard by dozens of GRCC students and guests, reflected these values.
Andres Chavez told the story of his grandfather’s legacy that called attention to the suffering of migrant farm workers and explained the brave actions that were taken by many to help support them.
Moreover, Andres Chavez strongly emphasized the power of standing in solidarity together despite differences. He considered that as the key factor in the union of the National Farm Workers Association and the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, a merger that led to the birth of the multicultural movement that would forever change American farm labor and the course of American history.
In addition, Chavez told of his grandfather’s important lesson that the fight isn’t about better working conditions or better pay, but is about respect. With respect also comes those things.
Finally, Chavez shared a quote from his grandfather that illustrates the most important aspect of his cause, “In our work, we fight for people,” he said. “You only lose when you give up, and when you stop fighting.”
His grandfather’s legacy carries forward to the present day. It is relevant to events such as the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the refusal of some NFL players to stand for the National Anthem, and the day-to-day chaos coming out of Washington D.C.
“I don’t think it’s the end of the world,” Andres Chavez said. “I merely see it as a test of our faith, our commitment to each other, and our commitment to continue to make this country the best place it can possibly be. With these words, I hope you too are inspired like I am to be of service to others and let’s leave this world in a better place than we found it.”