Grossman gives insight on the Chavez legacy
December 9, 2016
Filed under A & E
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On Wednesday, Nov. 30, former press secretary for Cesar Chavez, Marc Grossman, spoke to students and staff in the USU Ballroom.
Grossman, the current Communications Director for the Chavez Foundation, discussed the life, legacy and personal impact of the late Cesar Chavez.
Grossman discussed the life of Chavez before his activist days. Chavez grew up in the small agricultural city of Yuma, Arizona.
Years after earning wages as a farm worker and finishing his service with the Navy that began in 1946, Chavez’s work as an activist began. In 1952 he joined the Community Service Organization (CSO), a Latino civil rights group. His position in CSO allowed Chavez and his family to break into the middle class, according to Grossman.
His position didn’t last long. CSO refused to let Chavez organize workers and this led to his departure. Chavez and his family moved into a smaller place as he tried to recruit members for his own cause, which later manifested into the United Farm Workers labor union.
According to Grossman, non-violence was a major cornerstone for Chavez. This belief often met criticism from some farm workers.
Grossman recounted that Chavez would say, “It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives, we find life. I am convinced that the truest act of courage 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 be men.”
Chavez relentlessly backed up his words with his resilient form of leadership. He had no intention of putting himself above those involved in his cause. When people would interact with Chavez, they would be reminded of their fathers, sons, uncles or grandfathers, Grossman said.
Grossman addressed a time when a reporter followed Chavez and witnessed how workers admired him.
“The feeling is mutual,” the soft-spoken Chavez would reply. His response, further evidence of his pure selflessness.