...So they are trying to do something about it. They are not doing it by seeking charity. They are not begging at the welfare office. They are not, like many of their employers, lobbying the halls of Congress with their gold plated tin cups asking to be paid for not growing crops. They are trying to do it in the way that millions of other Americans have shown is the right way-organization, unionism, collective bargaining.
seeking quotescharity quotesbegging quoteswelfare quotesoffice quotesemployers quoteslobbying quoteshalls quotescongress quotesgold quotesplated quotestin quotescups quotespaid quotesgrowing quotescrops quotesmillions quotesamericans quotesshown quoteswayorganization quotesunionism quotescollective quotesbargaining quotes
I remember with strong feelings the families who joined our movement and paid dues long before there was any hope of winning contracts. Sometimes, fathers and mothers would take money out of their meager food budgets just because they believed that farm workers could and must build their own union. I remember thinking then that with spirit like that... we had to win. No force on earth could stop us.
remember quotesstrong quotesfeelings quotesfamilies quotesjoined quotesmovement quotespaid quotesdues quoteslong quoteshope quoteswinning quotescontracts quotesfathers quotesmothers quotesmoney quotesmeager quotesfood quotesbudgets quotesbelieved quotesfarm quotesworkers quotesbuild quotesunion quotesthinking quotesspirit quoteswin quotesforce quotesearth quotesstop quotes
Farm workers everywhere are angry and worried that we cannot win without violence. We have proved it before through persistence, hard work, faith and willingness to sacrifice. We can win and keep our own self-respect and build a great union that will secure the spirit of all people if we do it through a re-dedication and re-commitment to the struggle for justice through non-violence.
farm quotesworkers quotesangry quotesworried quoteswin quotesviolence quotesproved quotespersistence quoteshard quoteswork quotesfaith quoteswillingness quotessacrifice quotesselfrespect quotesbuild quotesgreat quotesunion quotessecure quotesspirit quotespeople quotesrededication quotesrecommitment quotesstruggle quotesjustice quotesnonviolence quotes
The poor, you know, have a way of solving problems...they have a tremendous capacity for suffering. And so when you build a vehicle to get something done, as we've done here in the strike and the boycott, then they continue to suffer - and maybe a little bit more - but the suffering becomes less important because they see a chance of progress; sometimes progress itself. They've been suffering all their live.s It's a question of suffering with some kind of hope now. That's better than suffering with no hope at all.
poor quotessolving quotesproblemsthey quotestremendous quotescapacity quotessuffering quotesbuild quotesvehicle quotesstrike quotesboycott quotescontinue quotessuffer quotesbit quotessuffering quotesimportant quoteschance quotesprogress quotesprogress quoteslives quotesquestion quoteskind quoteshope quotes
When we are really honest with ourselves we must admit that our lives are all that really belong to us, so it is how we use our lives that determines what kind of men we are. It is my deepest belief that only by giving life do we find life, that the truest act courage, the strongest act of manliness is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice. To be a man is to suffer for others, God help us to be men.
honest quotesadmit quoteslives quotesbelong quotesdetermines quoteskind quotesmen quotesdeepest quotesbelief quotesgiving quoteslife quotesfind quoteslife quotestruest quotesact quotescourage quotesstrongest quotesmanliness quotessacrifice quotestotally quotesnonviolent quotesstruggle quotesjustice quotesman quotessuffer quotesgod quotesmen quotes
The road to social justice for the farm worker is the road of unionization. Our cause, our strike against table grapes and our international boycott are all founded upon our deep conviction that the form of collective self-help, which is unionization, holds far more hope for the farm worker than any other single approach, whether public or private. This conviction is what brings spirit, high hope and optimism to everything we do.
road quotessocial quotesjustice quotesfarm quotesworker quotesunionization quotesstrike quotestable quotesgrapes quotesinternational quotesboycott quotesfounded quotesdeep quotesconviction quotesform quotescollective quotesselfhelp quotesunionization quotesholds quoteshope quotessingle quotesapproach quotespublic quotesprivate quotesbrings quotesspirit quoteshigh quotesoptimism quotes
We know what unions have done for other people. We have seen it and we have studied and we have cherished the idea of unionism. We have seen the history and development of unions in this country and we tell the growers that we want nothing more, but that we want our own union and we are going to fight for it as long as it takes.
We have suffered unnumbered ills and crimes in the name of the Law of the Land. Our men, women and children have suffered not only the basic brutality of stoop labor, and the most obvious injustices of the system; they have also suffered the desperation of knowing that the system caters to the greed of callous men and not to our needs. Now we will suffer for the purpose of ending the poverty, the misery, and the injustice, with the hope that our children will not be exploited as we have been. They have imposed hungers on us, and now we hunger for justice.
suffered quotesunnumbered quotesills quotescrimes quoteslaw quotesland quotesmen quoteswomen quoteschildren quotesbasic quotesbrutality quotesstoop quoteslabor quotesobvious quotesinjustices quotessystem quotesdesperation quotesknowing quotessystem quotescaters quotesgreed quotescallous quotesmen quotessuffer quotespurpose quotesending quotespoverty quotesmisery quotesinjustice quoteshope quotesexploited quotesimposed quoteshungers quoteshunger quotesjustice quotes
What, then, is the effect of pesticides? Pesticides have created a legacy of pain, and misery, and death for farm workers and consumers alike. The crop which poses the greatest danger, and the focus of our struggle, is the table grape crop. These pesticides soak the fields. Drift with the wind, pollute the water, and are eaten by unwitting consumers. These poisons are designed to kill, and pose a very real threat to consumers and farm workers alike.
effect quotespesticides quotespesticides quotescreated quoteslegacy quotespain quotesmisery quotesdeath quotesfarm quotesworkers quotesconsumers quotesalike quotescrop quotesposes quotesgreatest quotesdanger quotesfocus quotesstruggle quotestable quotesgrape quotescrop quotespesticides quotessoak quotesfields quotesdrift quoteswind quotespollute quoteswater quoteseaten quotesunwitting quotesconsumers quotespoisons quotesdesigned quoteskill quotespose quotesreal quotesthreat quotes
A movement with some lasting organization is a lot less dramatic than a movement with a lot of demonstrations and a lot of marching and so forth. The more dramatic organization does catch attention quicker. Over the long haul, however, it's a lot more difficult to keep together because you're not building solid...A lasting organization is one in which people will continue to build, develop and move when you are not there.
Across the San Joaquin valley, across California, across the entire nation, wherever there are injustices against men and women and children who work in the fields - there you will see our flags - with the black eagle with the white and red background, flying. Our movement is spreading like flames across a dry plain.
san quotesjoaquin quotesvalley quotescalifornia quotesentire quotesnation quotesinjustices quotesmen quoteswomen quoteschildren quoteswork quotesfields quotesflags quotesblack quoteseagle quoteswhite quotesred quotesbackground quotesflying quotesmovement quotesspreading quotesflames quotesdry quotesplain quotes
This is the beginning of a social movement in fact and not in pronouncements. We seek our basic, God - given rights as human beings...We shall do it without violence because it is our destiny. To the growers and to all who oppose us, we say the words of Benito Juarez: 'Respect for another's right is the meaning of peace.'
I have met many, many farm workers and friends who love justice and who are willing to sacrifice for what is right. They have a quality about them that reminds me of the beatitudes. They are living examples that Jesus' promise is true: they have ben hungry and thirsty for righteousness and they have been satisfied. They are determined, patient people who believe in life and who give strength to others. They have given me more love and hope and strength than they will ever know.
met quotesfarm quotesworkers quotesfriends quoteslove quotesjustice quotessacrifice quotesquality quotesreminds quotesbeatitudes quotesliving quotesexamples quotesjesus quotespromise quotestrue quotesben quoteshungry quotesthirsty quotesrighteousness quotessatisfied quotesdetermined quotespatient quotespeople quoteslife quotesgive quotesstrength quoteshope quotes
These observations tie in directly with the whole question of organizing. Why do we have leaders? We put some people out in the fields and all of a sudden they hit, they click. Everyone's happy with them and they begin to move mountains. With other people there are problems and heartaches. They just don't go. When we look and see what's happening, almost invariably the differences are along the lines of willingness to sacrifice and work long hours.
observations quotestie quotesdirectly quotesquestion quotesorganizing quotesleaders quotesput quotespeople quotesfields quotessudden quoteshit quotesclick quoteseveryones quoteshappy quotesbegin quotesmove quotesmountains quotesproblems quotesheartaches quoteshappening quotesinvariably quotesdifferences quoteslines quoteswillingness quotessacrifice quoteswork quoteslong quoteshours quotes
Jesus' life and words are a challenge at the same time that they are Good News. They are a challenge to those of us who are poor and oppressed. By His life He is calling us to give ourselves to others, to sacrifice for those who suffer, to share our lives with our brothers and sisters who are also oppressed. He is calling us to "hunger and thirst after justice" in the same way that we hunger and thirst after food and water: that is, by putting our yearning into practice.
jesus quoteslife quoteswords quoteschallenge quotestime quotesgood quotesnews quotespoor quotesoppressed quotescalling quotesgive quotessacrifice quotessuffer quotesshare quoteslives quotesbrothers quotessisters quoteshunger quotesthirst quotesjustice quoteshunger quotesfood quoteswater quotesputting quotesyearning quotespractice quotes
it is clearly evident that our path travels through a valley of teas well known to all farm workers, because in all valleys the way of the farm worker has bene one of sacrifice for generations. Our sweat and our blood have fallen on this land to make other men rich. This Pilgrimage is a witness to the suffering we have seen for generations.
We can choose to use our lives for others to bring about a better and more just world for our children. People who make that choice will know hardship and sacrifice. But if you give yourself totally to the non-violence struggle for peace and justice you also find that people give you their hearts and you will never go hungry and never be alone. And in giving of yourself you will discover a whole new life full of meaning and love.
choose quoteslives quotesbring quotesworld quoteschildren quotespeople quotesmake quoteschoice quoteshardship quotessacrifice quotesgive quotestotally quotesnonviolence quotesstruggle quotespeace quotesjustice quotesfind quotespeople quoteshearts quoteshungry quotesgiving quotesdiscover quoteslife quotesfull quotesmeaning quoteslove quotes
The picket line is the best place to train organizers. One day on the picket line is where a man makes his commitment. The longer on the picket line, the stronger the commitment. A lot of workers think they make their commitment by walking off the job when nobody sees them. But you get a guy to walk off the field when his boss is watching and, in front of the other guys, throw down his tools and march right to the picket line, that is the guy who makes our strike. The picket line is a beautiful thing because it makes a man more human.
picket quotesline quotesplace quotestrain quotesorganizers quotesday quotesman quotesmakes quotescommitment quoteslonger quotesline quotesstronger quoteslot quotesworkers quotesmake quotescommitment quoteswalking quotesjob quotessees quotesguy quoteswalk quotesfield quotesboss quoteswatching quotesfront quotesguys quotesthrow quotestools quotesmarch quotesstrike quotesbeautiful quotesthing quoteshuman quotes
Until the chance for political participation is there, we who are poor will continue to attack the soft part of the American system - its economic structure. We will build power through boycotts, strikes, new union - whatever techniques we can develop. These attacks on the status quo will come, not because we hate, but because we know America can construct a humane society for all its citizens - and that if it does not, there will chaos.
chance quotespolitical quotesparticipation quotespoor quotescontinue quotesattack quotessoft quotespart quotesamerican quotessystem quoteseconomic quotesstructure quotesbuild quotespower quotesboycotts quotesstrikes quotesunion quotestechniques quotesdevelop quotesattacks quotesstatus quotesquo quoteshate quotesamerica quotesconstruct quoteshumane quotessociety quotescitizens quoteschaos quotes
"The life of the union depends upon more people getting to share the limelight, because with the limelight also comes responsibility and with the responsibility comes a little sharing of the load." "There isn't enough money to organize poor people. There never is enough money to organize anyone. If you put it on the basis of money, you're not going to succeed."
People who have lost their hunger for justice are not ultimately powerful. They are like sick people who have lost their appetite for what is truly nourishing. Such sick people should not frighten or discourage us. They should be prayed for along with the sick people who are in the hospital. "The love for justice that is in us is not only the best part of our being but it is also the most true to our nature."
Non-violence is very weak in the theoretical sense; it cannot defend itself. But it is most powerful in the action situation where people are using non-violence because they want desperately to bring about some change. Non-violence in action is a very potent force and it can't be stopped. The people who are struggling have the complete say-so. No man-made law, no human ruler, no army can destroy this. There is no way it can be destroyed... And so, if we have the capacity to endure, if we have the patience, things will change.
nonviolence quotesweak quotestheoretical quotessense quotesdefend quotespowerful quotesaction quotessituation quotespeople quotesnonviolence quotesdesperately quotesbring quoteschange quotespotent quotesforce quotesstopped quotesstruggling quotescomplete quotessayso quotesmanmade quoteslaw quoteshuman quotesruler quotesarmy quotesdestroy quotesdestroyed quotescapacity quotesendure quotespatience quotesthings quotes
The name of the game is to talk to people. If you don't talk to people, you can't get started...You knock on twenty doors or so, and twenty guys tell you to go to hell, or that they haven't got time. But maybe at the fortieth or sixtieth house you find the one guy who is all you need. You're not going to organize everything; you're just going to get it started.
...people think non-violence is really weak and non-militant. These are misconceptions that people have because they don't understand what non-violence means. Non-violence takes more guts, if I can put it bluntly, than violence. Most violent acts are accomplished by getting the opponent off guard, and it doesn't take that much character, I think, if one wants to do it.