“REMOVE THAT UFW UNION BUTTON NOW ... OR I’LL HOLD YOU IN CONTEMPT OF COURT AND JUST SO YOU UNDERSTAND, THERE’S NO BAIL WHEN YOU’RE IN CONTEMPT ! ” is what the judge barked at me when I stood before him in court after being arrested for picketing Gallo Wines in Denver, Colorado in 1975.
Something about Cesar Chavez and the UFW gave inner resolve to common people in uncommon times. Growing up in middle class Kansas City I never found myself on the wrong arm of the law and wouldn’t have known what to do if I was. But the UFW taught me that right was right, no matter the consequences. So I refused to remove my UFW button; the judge slammed his gavel down and ordered me back to jail. We were routinely arrested, hassled and attacked but Cesar and the UFW gave us inner strength to oppose wrong doing. Seven years and about 17 or 18 arrests later I was still working for the UFW in the Coachella Valley when I met my future wife who was a ‘Campesina’, a ‘Chavista’ and a 1973 ‘Huelgista’ along with her family in Coachella’s & Delano’s hot grape fields and strikes. Thirty some years later the by-products have been three wonderful kids & an indelible appreciation for the UFW and unionism in general.
VIVA CESAR CHAVEZ ! VIVA LA UNION !