Talking to Kids About Cesar Chavez


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César Chávez fought for rights of all Americans and is an important figure to share with our children. Texas honors César Chávez every year on his birthday March 31. The civil rights leader co-founded United Farm Workers with Dolores Huerta. He is best known for his rallying cry, Si, se puede” (Yes, we can), which later became the UFW motto.

Chávez’s early experiences inspired his own activism. His family lost its farm during the Great Depression and then became migrant workers — suffering the abuses and injustices of farm worker life. He began working in the fields as a teenager.

Through his work with the National Farm Workers Association, which later became United Farm Workers, he organized strikes to bring about change through non-violent means.

Bring Chávez’s legacy to life with your children with these ideas.

Read About Farmworkers

There are several great books for all ages of children about Chávez, migrant farm workers, and his legacy. Babies and toddlers will enjoy the bilingual board book biography The Life of/La vida de Dolores, which shares the work Dolores Huerta did with César Chávez in the 1965 Delano grape strike and continuing advocacy work today.

A good place for school age children to start is is Harvesting Hope by Kathleen Krull. The book won a Pura Belpré Award and is available in Spanish as Cosechando Esperanza. This picture book begins when Chávez’s family lost its farm. It recounts his childhood and young adulthood facing racism and opposition, which inspired him to organize and take action.

Another great choice is Side by Side/Lado a Lado, a bilingual picture book that shares the story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez. This story recounts the famous grape boycott and Chavez’s long fasts alongside beautiful illustrations and a real photo of the two activists on the last page.

Bilingual resource site ¡Colorín Colorado! offers suggested book lists for kids and young adults and lesson plans for K-12 grade students kids, including a book of Chavez-inspired poetry César: Yes We Can!.

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Visit a Farmers Market

Visit one of our many area farmers markets and talk about the farmers and workers behind the produce we eat. Better yet, drive down Cesar Chavez Boulevard to the Dallas Farmers Market near downtown Dallas.

Corn field

Study Diverse Perspectives

The updated Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum features a Pivot to America wing, with a focus on Texas “upstanders” and a call to action area. Learn about other activists who fought alongside Chávez and carried on his mission in Texas like Francisco “Pancho” Medrano.

Learning about different types of advocacy can help spark an interest in your own children’s minds. As a young child, Chávez faced discrimination for speaking Spanish in school. This helped drive his passion about upholding the dignity of all Americans.

Honor Chávez’s legacy by participating in programs at the Latino Cultural Center.

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Take Action Together

Many states and municipalities honor César Chávez Day as a service opportunity. The best way to honor his legacy is to continue the fight against injustice. Choose either a one-time or ongoing project to volunteer with your kids. You can support local refugees, make plans to increase your own civic participation, or develop a plan together to serve whatever need seems most pressing in your slice of Dallas.

How do you talk to your kids about César Chávez and other civil rights leaders?


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