Recognizing those who shaped Stockton

Recognizing those who shaped Stockton

Jasmine George

Growing up in a city like Stockton, you’re very limited to people who you can look up to. Your inspiration comes from the desire of not wanting to become the people who live here. Well, I have great news for you. There are people who you can look up to. People who made history for the town we live in. We have both people we can look up to, who led and followed to make a difference. A difference that shows today.

Known for his great efforts to receive better working conditions for THOUSANDS of workers who labored on farms under severe conditions and little pay, Cesar Chavez was a community organizer, Latino American civil rights activist, and American labor leader. He was inspired by the tactics of nonviolent resistance performed by Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Cesar Chavez founded what’s now known as the United Farm Workers of America. What’s originally known as the National Farm Workers Association, Chavez used this to win a raise in pay and improve working conditions for farmers during the 1960s and 1970s.

She’s an inspiration for every woman, a civil rights leader, and the co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association. Moments before Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, he acknowledged Dolores helping him secure the 1968 California Democratic Presidential Primary. Her mother’s entrepreneurial and independent spirit was one of the reasons she became a feminist. Dolores Huerta continues even at age 89 years old to work tirelessly developing leaders and helping the poor, children, and women. She did good deeds like offering rooms at her hotels at low costs for the low-wage workers, often waiving the fee altogether.

Coming from a traditional upbringing and limited education, Helen Fabela Chavez was a devoted activist for the National Farm Workers Association, mother of 8, and partner to Cesar Chavez. She is best known for having a critical role in establishing the National Farm Workers Association. 

Having met with former President Barack Obama over the President’s executive order on immigration, Arturo S. Rodriguez is also one we can look up to. President of the United Farm Workers, Rodriguez led negotiations with the nation’s major grower associations. Arturo S. Rodriguez continues to build the union Cesar Chavez founded into a strong voice for workers by increasing its membership and pushing historic legislation on immigration reform and worker rights.

Hunger strikes, marches, and boycotts led in the past in our city have shaped what we call Stockton today. Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Helen Fabela Chavez, and Arturi S. Rodriguez, and many more deserve the recognition they worked so hard for. Putting their lives, reputation, and health at risk for the people who needed it the most. All we can really say to all of them is thank you.