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“Since the Church is to be servant to the poor, it is our fault if that wealth is not channeled to help the poor in our world.”

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Quotes by Cesar Chavez

  1. As long as we have a poor country bordering California, it’s going to be very difficult to win strikes.
  2. Farm workers are society’s canaries. Farm workers – and their children – demonstrate the effects of pesticide poisoning before anyone else.
  3. From the depth of need and despair, people can work together, can organize themselves to solve their own problems and fill their own needs with dignity and strength.
  4. If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.
  5. If you want to remember me, organize!
  6. In some cases non-violence requires more militancy than violence.
  7. It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life. I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice.
  8. It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did not promise us that the world would be humane and just. He gives us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on earth. It is an awesome opportunity.
  9. Our language is the reflection of ourselves. A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers.
  10. Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.
  11. Real education should consist of drawing the goodness and the best out of our own students. What better books can there be than the book of humanity?
  12. Since the Church is to be servant to the poor, it is our fault if that wealth is not channeled to help the poor in our world.
  13. Students must have initiative; they should not be mere imitators. They must learn to think and act for themselves – and be free.
  14. The burdens of generations of poverty and powerlessness lie heavy in the fields of America. If we fail, there are those who will see violence as the shortcut to change.
  15. The end of all knowledge should be service to others.
  16. The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.
  17. There are vivid memories from my childhood – what we had to go through because of low wages and the conditions, basically because there was no union. I suppose, if I wanted to be fair, I could say that I’m trying to settle a personal score. I could dramatize it by saying that I want to bring social justice to farm workers.
  18. There is no law for farm labor organizing, save the law of the jungle.
  19. There is no substitute for hard work, 23 or 24 hours a day. And there is no substitute for patience and acceptance.
  20. There is no such thing as defeat in non-violence.
  21. Though many of the poor have come to see the affluent middle class as its enemy, that class actually stands between the poor and the real powers in this society – the administrative octopus with its head in Washington, the conglomerates, the military complex.
  22. To be a man is to suffer for others. God help us to be men!
  23. We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.
  24. We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure.
  25. We farm workers are closest to food production. We were the first to recognize the serious health hazards of agriculture pesticides to both consumers and ourselves.
  26. We learned many years ago that the rich may have money, but the poor have time.
  27. We need to help students and parents cherish and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens this community – and this nation.
  28. What we do know absolutely is that human lives are worth more than grapes and that innocent-looking grapes on the table may disguise poisonous residues hidden deep inside where washing cannot reach.
  29. When poor people get involved in a long conflict, such as a strike or a civil rights drive, and the pressure increases each day, there is a deep need for spiritual advice. Without it, we see families crumble, leadership weaken, and hard workers grow tired.
  30. When we are really honest with ourselves we must admit our lives are all that really belong to us. So it is how we use our lives that determines the kind of men we are.
  31. Who gets the risks? The risks are given to the consumer, the unsuspecting consumer and the poor work force. And who gets the benefits? The benefits are only for the corporations, for the money makers.
  32. Without a union, the people are always cheated, and they are so innocent.
  33. You are never strong enough that you don’t need help.