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MARK HUME Organizing Around Cesar Chavez: BY DENISE BEZICK El Paso LORENZA PRIMERO, her dark brown wrinkled face framed by a red bandana, wiped away the tears that streamed down her cheeks. She leaned on the banister of a stairwell of an old home converted into a law office and cried as a young priest in the Freelance writer Denise Bezick lives in El Paso. foyer below dropped holy water on dried red chile peppers and sweet-smelling onions in baskets in front of an altar dedicated to Cesar Chavez. Primero, an aging El Paso chile picker, had never met Chavez or been to the grape fields where he led his struggle for better pay and working conditions for more than 200,000 field hands, many of them Mexican immigrants like herself. But in her heart she loved the man, whom as a younger woman she had come to know from radio, television and by word of mouth. “I first heard of Cesar Chavez many many years ago. I don’t remember exactly when. I’ve read about him in the papers, seen him on television,” Primero said as she sat on the patio before the service. “He was a very formidable man. Though our struggle in the chile fields is different from his struggle, he has made all of our lives a little easier. Still, we have a lot to do.” The memorial vigil and offering by El THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17