As we approach the turn of the century, many wonder for what 1999 will be remembered. Will it be remembered for its technological advances, for the progress of humanity, for worldwide peace, or rather for war on helpless refugees, for the reinstatement of the death penalty, and for highschool massacres? 1999 will definitely be remembered as a year of brutal bloodshed.
When deciding who to commemorate in our website, we chose to honor an individual who stressed and proved the importance and power of nonviolence by his way of life: Cesar Estrada Chavez.
In choosing Chavez, we hope to demonstrate to others that nonviolence
can accomplish many goals, deteriorate many barriers, and facilitate progress,
despite the immediate outcome, for as Cesar once said:
"There is no such thing as defeat in nonviolence."
Cesar Estrada Chavez was a great leader and teacher. From his life, we can derive an array of themes to discuss. Yet one of the most outstanding and important ones in regards to todayĖs society is his belief in nonviolence.
Leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Gandhi, and Cesar have proved to America and the world that nonviolence brings forth success and justice. Many of these leaders died for their nonviolent effort, yet they were victorious in their cause. Although they have left a deep impression on our present-day society, at times Martin Luther KingĖs sermons of peace and CesarĖs fasts are ignored.
Countless people have been the victims of violent crimes in America. Many Teenagers today resort to violence as a way to find justice. MassachusettsĖs
Latin Kings was a gang created by young Hispanic men who sought refuge from
the discrimination and racism that they encountered. Their solution:
drug dealing, robbery, shootings... Is this justice?
"Violence just hurts those who are already hurt...Instead of exposing the brutality of the oppressor, it justifies it."- Cesar Chavez
These young gangsters, instead of fighting injustice, fall into and thus assert the stereotype of the Hispanic people- a people of violence, crime, and ignorance. For this reason, Chavez preferred to sacrifice his health than to use violent insurrections to promote his cause.
However, many individuals and organizations today strive to keep King and ChavezĖs philosophy alive. People such as Jesse Jackson and Mother Teresa have dedicated their lives to the betterment of humanity. UFW, LULAC, Amnesty International, and MEChA are all organizations that practice this philosophy of peace, unity, and determination, for justice and advancement. Even our Boston Latin School fosters student clubs, which employ this philosophy. Clubs such as The Afrikan Cultural Society (AKS), the Talented And Gifted Hispanic Program (TAG), Asian Students In Action (ASIA), and our very own Amnesty International are committed to the Boston Latin School community and often work in coalition with the Administration to continuously improve the school's social atmosphere.
There are many ways you as an individual and student can become part of CesarĖs legacy:
"When you have people together who believe in something very strongly
- whether it's religion or politics or unions Ō things happen."
- Cesar E. Chavez
These are just a few of the ways in which you can help make Cesar ChavezĖs work worthwhile.
Due to the lack of communication and tolerance in America, many are impelled to express their anger and frustration through violence. If we as a society strive to integrate nonviolence in our daily lives, tragedies, such as that of Columbine High School, will not reoccur.
When faced with adversity, always keep in mind the power
"Nonviolence is a very powerful weapon. Most people don't understand
the power of nonviolence and tend to be amazed by the whole idea. Those
who have been involved in bringing about change and see the difference
between violence and nonviolence are firmly committed to a lifetime of
nonviolence, not because it is easy or because it is cowardly, but because
it is an effective and very powerful way."
- Cesar E. Chavez