Friday, March 31, 2017

César Chávez, jail time and migrant justice today

César Chávez, jail time and migrant justice today:

Guest blog: César Chávez, jail time and migrant justice today

The drinking faucet was attached to an overflowing toilet in the middle of the cell. There were no beds. Some of us slept on metal tables; some sat on the sticky floors. I was with a group of teachers arrested nearly a decade ago for demonstrating at the California State Capitol. We were protesting legislators who had blocked the budget, denying students the learning opportunities that all children deserve.
Lockup, even in a county jail, is a place no one wants to be. But from suffragist Alice Paul to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., to César Chávez, jail is a common experience for those who fight for justice in America.
César Chávez, born on March 31, knew that fight well. He wrote, “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.” He also said, “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 what kind of human beings we are. 
This week America honors César for his work to bring justice to the farmworkers of California. But if César, who led the United Farm Workers, is remembered a hundred years from now, it will not just be for the grape and lettuce strikes and boycotts. It will be because of the  example he set for groups like Migrant Justice.
Migrant Justice, based in Vermont, is organizing farmworkers to improve and advance their fundamental human rights. Its cutting-edge human rights organizing and the concrete victories it has been able to achieve through its approach have become a national model. Migrant Justice carries on the work of César Chávez, earning the immigrant-led organization NEA’s human and civil rights award.
Migrant Justice began its Milk with Dignity campaign in 2015, calling on Ben & Jerry’s to take responsibility for abusing farmworkers’ rights. The campaign had some success, but Ben & Jerry’s has not yet implemented a full César Chávez, jail time and migrant justice today:

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