Movie about civil rights leader Cesar Chavez opens

On the same day the movie "Cesar Chavez" opened in the Bay Area, the co-founder of the UFW visited a Pittsburg school.
March 28, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
The movie about the life of civil rights leader Cesar Chavez opened in theaters Friday and those who went to see it say it embraces the message of social justice that Chavez fought so hard for. ABC7 News spoke to some of the people closest to him.

For some the movie is a history lesson of how in the 1960s farm workers in California's Central Valley fought to secure fair living wages. Leading that struggle was Cesar Chavez.

In the movie Chavez's character said, "I'm angry too. I'm angry that I live in a world where a man who picks your food can't feed his family."

The actor, Michael Pena, bears some resemblance to the real Chavez.

The movie relives the struggles Chavez went through when he founded the United Farm Workers union. Few can forget the strikes and the many marches through California's Central Valley, the boycott and the times Chavez fasted. One of them lasted 36 days and nearly killed him.

"Get involved. That's it. That's the main message," said Dolores Huerta.

Huerta co-founded the United Farm Workers union. She was at a school in Pittsburg Friday and spoke to students about never giving up.

"We want them to become involved. We want them to call their Congressman to pass immigration reform," said Huerta.

Dianna Lyons worked with the United Farm Workers union for 26 years and remembers how the organization grew. She told us, "To sow the seeds for change in this country that is kind of like that worrisome ivy that gets in your yard and it just won't quit and the tentacles just go everywhere."

Neither of Huerta or Lyons had seen the movie yet. The movie opened in the Bay Area on Friday.

"I believe it's educational and more people should go and see it," said Paula Rojas, a moviegoer.

"I think the Latino culture needs to know what's going on with Cesar Chavez and his life. I mean, a lot of young people in the Latin culture don't know much about Cesar Chavez," said David Rivera, a moviegoer.

Chavez died in 1993. He coined the phrase "si, se puede" -- yes, we can.


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