Cesar Chavez once said, "When the man who feeds the world by toiling in the field is himself deprived of the basic rights of feeding and caring for his own family, the whole community of man is sick. Here's a brief audio of Cesar Chavez , telling a little about his life and accomplishments and featuring an example of his speaking about protests.
Consider playing this for your class. Below are parts of speeches by Cesar Chavez, one honoring the memory of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Have students work in groups to read each part and look up the words, ideas, and places that they are not familiar with. You may want to start with the first paragraph of Part One for the whole group and model for them the importance of understanding everything they do not know and how to look up the information.
It will be very useful to spend time ensuring they understand the idea of a "rate" of such things as cancer and other health issues, and the importance of a community knowing how well or poorly the rates are in various areas. After they understand the words in each part, have them discuss the following questions, share their responses, and then have them go to the conclusion section:.
In its midst are clusters of children dying from cancer. The children live in communities surrounded by the grape fields that employ their parents. The children come into contact with the poisons when they play outside, when they drink the water, and whey they hug their parents returning from the fields.
And the children are dying. They are dying slow, painful, cruel deaths in towns called cancer clusters, like McFarland, where the children's cancer rate is percent above normal. These same pesticides can be found on the grapes you buy in the stores. My friends, the suffering must end. We have no choice, we have to stop the plague of pesticides.
The same inhumanity displayed at Selma, in Birmingham, in so many of Dr. King's battlegrounds, is displayed every day on the vineyards of California. For your safety, for the workers, and for the children, we must act together.
My friends, Dr. King realized that the only real wealth comes from helping others. I challenge you to carry on his work by volunteering to work for a just cause you believe in. We are poor. Our allies are few. But we have something the rich do not own. We have our own bodies and spirits and the justice of our cause as weapons. 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 people we are.
It is my belief that only by giving our lives do we find life. I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally nonviolent struggle for justice. Tell the class, "Let's go back to what Cesar Chavez once said: 'When the man who feeds the world by toiling in the field is himself deprived of the basic rights of feeding and caring for his own family, the whole community of man is sick.
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Then, arrange your students in small discussion groups and then ask them to share their answers with the whole group to these questions:. What do you think he meant by that? What basic rights do you feel you should have? Should everyone in the community or in school have those same rights? Why or why not? What can you do to help others have their rights?
What are your thoughts and ideas about the lesson shared in this post?
Please share in the comments section below. The Legacy of Cesar Chavez We are going to learn about a man of great courage who believed that the most powerful weapon in the world was non-violence and peace. Get the best of Edutopia in your inbox each week. After they understand the words in each part, have them discuss the following questions, share their responses, and then have them go to the conclusion section: Part One: What is the problem that Cesar Chavez was so concerned about?
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A Lesson About Cesar Chavez and Civil Rights
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