I chose to watch the documentary Viva La Causa. This documentary was about the grape strike and NFWA (National Farm Workes Association) against the grape growers led by Ceser Chavez in the 1960’s. Watching this gave me hope and also reinforced the notion that if you want something to change, you can make it happen. The power of people fighting for something together without using violence is possible. When I think of advocating for something, this is what comes to mind. These farm worker were not covered by state or federal laws. All of the power was held by the growers and the working conditions were immoral.
It was eye opening to learn about how the strike started. The documentary discussed how Cesar Chavez started off knocking and doors and how they would go to the farms, and picket outside and urge the workers to join them and fight for better conditions. They got sprayed down with dust and foremans/growers would put loud music on to drown out the protesters. Overall this was not an easy battle and went on for years before any sort of change could happen. This is something important to keep in mind. Cesar Chavez went on a fast for 25 days which was his way of voicing that violence was not the answer to get things to change. I think this is so important for advocating for anything. You need to fight for what you want, and if everyone comes together and commits to making a change, then you can make a difference. It wasn’t until 1970, that the growers finally surrendered and the workers got the first farm labor contracts.The main message I got out of this is that it takes people working together and spreading the story about what you are fighting for to really create change and make a difference.
Also when reading A Moveable Feast: The UFW Grape Boycott and Farm Worker Justice, I kept thinking back to the guest speaker we had who talked about how hard her parents fought to get Suzy’s law passed. She kept stressing how important it is when advocating to share your issue/story with others, to inform them, also as the article discusses, the strike wasn’t enough. The boycott of buying CA grapes and not shopping at grocery stores really helped the change to come about. By reaching out to consumers to not buy CA grapes and don’t shop at these stores helped the number of people increase dramatically. The video states that in 1970, 17 mill people stopped buying grapes and that the growers lost an estimated 25 mill.$! That is not something that happens overnight. It took a lot of time, and tireless effort to get people to boycott the growers.