Cesar Chavez is an inspiration for all to fight for a better life regardless of who or where you are.
As for me, I reflect on the struggle that my parents endured when they both crossed the border from Mexico to the United States over 35 years ago.
Although, Chavez was a citizen, he struggled through poverty as a child and with poor working conditions as a migrant worker. He fought for others to obtain better working conditions in an industry that was underpaid.
I am the product of two parents who worked hard to find a job and hustle enough to eventually own a house in beautiful Anaheim.
It wasn’t easy to say the least for them or for me and my four siblings.
Chavez, like my parents, did not go to high school. With little education, they were able to make a difference in their lives. My parents learned how to navigate a new country and language as young adults.
They didn’t do it alone. They had friends and family who helped them through crossing the border all the way to owning a house. Chavez did the same by organizing a group of people to support the cause of unionizing.
Both my parents worked odd jobs like baby-sitting and working in the Vans factory before settling into long-term jobs. My dad worked as a cook for over 15 years while my mother worked graveyard shifts cleaning hospitals for over 20 years.
They worked to make a living, but to also give their children better opportunities they never had.
Even then, I decided to look for a job in high school to pay for my extracurricular activities, but had little success. With a volunteer resume that included the police department and church, no one would hire me.
The last place I applied to was not in my radar but a friend was applying and brought me along. I applied and finally got offered a job and will officially be employed 10 years with the Disneyland Resort this month.
I enjoyed the fruits of my parents labor by having a good education that gave me the opportunity to apply and get accepted to a 4-year school.
Chavez’s fight for labor rights was a struggle but he succeeded through his persistence and organization of other farm workers.
A big struggle for me was attending college. My oldest brother had attended but eventually dropped out. So I was on my own when I applied and thereafter attended Cal State Fullerton.
With no guidance, I flunked my first semester but I continued to improve until I graduated in 2015.
Thanks to the money skills I learned from my mother, I paid the majority of my tuition from my hard earned money.
Chavez’s legacy is the result of hard work, community, faith and sacrifice. I may not be a large scale change maker like Chavez, but I hope to bring about change through my reporting, storytelling and the lives of my children.