Several times in his life as a community organizer, Cesar Chavez used the excruciatingly personal tool of fasting to advance what we all recognize today as simple human justice. Senator Robert F. Kennedy (pictured above) joined with Chavez in March 1968, soon before the end of Chavez’s 25-day fast for basic farm worker’s rights.
In July 1988, the struggle continued as Chavez began a fast in response to the dangers of deadly pesticides. Thirty-six days later, he ended his strike by breaking bread with Ethel Kennedy, the widow of his old ally. As he ended his fast, Cesar Chavez handed a wooden cross to Rev. Jesse Jackson, symbolizing the passing on of a Fast for Life to concerned people across the country.
To learn more about all aspects of Chavez’s life, and the ongoing work he inspired please visit the Cesar Chavez Foundation website, and we can also recommend Miriam Pawel’s book, The Union of Their Dreams: Power, Hope, and Survival in Cesar Chavez’s Farm Worker Movement.