The March


“Ahora es cuando!”

La idea de la caminata es de tratar de hacerles ver a todos los trabajadores campesinos que sufren, a toda su familia, de que lo que se tratan estos días, es algo muy importante. Y tratamos de hacerlo ver de una manera que lo puedan comprender y después, que es tan importante, que estamos dispuestos, ustedes con nosotros, de hacer un sacrificio, de andar mil millas, de San Ysidro hasta Salinas, y desde Sacramento a Delano, Bakersfield, La Paz.  
Para que así, de una manera muy palpable, de una manera muy real, a celebrar a todos los trabajadores campesinos, de que hablamos en estos días es mucho muy importante. Tan importante. Estamos dispuestos, ustedes con nosotros, hacer sacrificio para que todos comprendan que es necesario, que no podemos esperar, y que todo campesino que quiera sindicato para mejorar su vida económica y social, ahora es cuando! – Cesar Chavez, Agosto 3, 1975

Cesar Chavez marches through Southern California with a guard dog, body guards, and a small group of supporters.

The idea of the march is to try to make all the farmworkers who suffer, all your families, understand that what these days are about is something very important. And we are trying to make this clear in a way that they will then understand that this is so important that we are ready, with you, to make a sacrifice, to walk 1,000 miles, from San Ysidro to Salinas, and from Sacramento to Delano, Bakersfield, La Paz. So in this very palpable way, in a very real way, to honor all the farmworkers, that what these days are about is very important, so important. We are prepared, together with you, to sacrifice so that everyone understands that this is necessary, that we can not wait, and that all farmworkers who want a union to improve their economic and social life — now is the time. – Cesar Chavez, Aug. 3, 1975

On July 1, 1975, Cesar Chavez set out to walk 1,000 miles across California, from the Mexican border north along roads that bordered tomato, strawberry, and lettuce fields, citrus orchards and vineyards – the places where farmworkers would soon make history. In two months, they would be able to petition for state-sponsored elections and cast secret ballots for the union of their choice. Chavez planned the route of his caminata to pass through dozens of towns, so he could talk to workers in small groups along the way and at larger rallies each evening, explain how the law worked, and how it might change their lives. The first section of the march started in San Ysidro and culminated a month later in Salinas after a ten-day walk through the Salinas Valley, home to the largest number of farmworkers.

“The day the law was signed, June 6, was like a miracle for us,” he told the crowds. “A dream that we have had for many years.”

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Turnout in the early days of the march was small. But loyal supporters lined the roads to honor his physical sacrifice and the importance of the mission.


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