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A JOURNAL OF FREE VOICES We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of human-kind as the foundation of democracy: we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them, because this is a journal of free voices. SINCE 1954 Publisher: Ronnie Dugger Editor: Louis Dubose Associate Editor: James Cullen Layout and Design: Peter Szymczak Copy Editor: Roxanne Bogucka Bad-Bills Girl: Mary O’Grady Editorial Intern: Carmen Garcia. Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Betty Brink, Warren ‘Bifrnett, Brett Campbell, Jo Clifton, Terry FitzPatrick, Gregg Franzwa, James Harrington, Bill Helmer, Ellen Hosmer, Steven Kellman, Michael King, Deborah Lutterbeck, Tom McClellan, Bryce Milligan, Debbie Nathan, Gary Pomerantz, Lawrence Walsh. Editorial Advisory Board: David Anderson, Austin; Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, El Paso; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Dave Denison, Cambridge, Mass; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Austin; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Presley, Texarkana; Susan Reid, Galveston; Fred Schmidt, Fredericksburg. Poetry Consultant: Thomas B. Whitbread Contributing Photographers: Bill Albrecht, Vic Hinterlang, Alan Pogue. Contributing Artists: Michael Alexander, Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Richard Bartholomew, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Carlos Lowry, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau, Gail Woods, Matt Wuerker. Managing Publisher: Cliff Olofson Subscription Manager: Stefan Wanstrom Executive Assistant: Gail Woods Special Projects Director: Bill Simmons Development Consultant: Frances Barton SUBSCRIPTIONS: One year $32. two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl.; 300 N. Zeeb Road. Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Any current subscriber who finds the price a burden should say so at renewal time; no one need forgo reading the Observer simply because of the cost. INDEXES: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981,The Texas Observer Index. entire contents copyrighted, 1992, is published biweekly except for a three-week interval 477-0746. Second-class postage paid at Austin. Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE TEXAS OBSERVER, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Cesar Chavez in 1979 ALAN POGUE lni:404;g7eVilArs: 1 T WAS 1fITING that Zulema Hernandez of Colonia Las Milpas in Pharr brought me the sad news of Cesar Chavez’s death because Zulema is one of the thousands of farmworkers in the Rio Grande Valley whose life Cesar touched and forever changed. Cesar was a friend to Zulema, as he was to all whom he met here in Texas over the last 27 years. Above all, Cesar showed Valley farmworkers that they could orga-, nize to better their lives, and he inspired them to do so. More through his patient example than anything else, Cesar taught.a fierce and total dedication to La Causa and a sense of power from self-organizing. Cesar visited the Valley often, and he loved to talk with the workers: to learn from them and to encourage them to take steps to gain economic and political poWer. He inspired leadership and commitment. He remembered their names and asked about their children. He loved to regale them with jokes that had a pointed message. The farmworkers responded to his faith in their ability. They formed a union in Texas, a branch of the United Farm Workers, AFLCIO. They painstakingly established organizing committees in colonias throughout the Valley; they decisively turned out the vote in favor of candidates whom they decided to support; they fought tedious battles in county commissioners’ court for improved living conditions, such as paved roads and postal service; they served as articulate and compelling plaintiffs in lawsuits; they fought relentlessly for, and against, legislation; and, once they had secured change, they made sure that it was not eroded or taken away. Politicians who betrayed them felt their sharp sting. As a result, field laborers won coverage under the workers’ compensation law; they secured entitlement to unemployment benefits; they achieved one of the nation’s most protective laws to know about the use of dan James C. Harrington is Legal Director, Texas Civil Rights Project. gerous chemicals in the workplace; they banned use of the short-handled hoe; they made the difference in many a local and state election; they compelled the growers to furnish basic sanitation facilities in the fields, such as portable toilets and water for drinking and washing; and they began to assure a steady increase in the slave-level wages they earned. To be sure, the fight for justice remains far from being won; but it has begun, and has endured, and this is because of the hope and confidence that Cesar Chavez inspired. Cesar was a hero, not just because of who he was, but because he symbolized what Mexican-American farmworkers could do: They could improve their lives and provide for their children, while retaining and enhancing their cultural heritage. Cesar showed them and us how to stand strong against the worst in American society, the repressive force of the growers, and the corruption of politicians and how, through nonviolence and love, to turn the tide of history toward a better and more just society. For me, it was a great honor to provide legal support for the struggle of Cesar Chavez and the farmworkers over the past 20 years. Cesar inspired people to take the risk and make giants of themselves, much as he had done himself. That is the legacy that he left farmworkers in Texas, and to us all. And it is the legacy that he would insist gently, but persistently, that we carry on in his memory. REMEMBRANCE Cesar Chavez R.I.P.: We Carry On BY JAMES C. HARRINGTON 2 MAY 7, 1993