Monday, October 8, 2012

The Prez at La Paz

President Barack Obama, the nation's most famous community organizer, honoring Cesar Chavez, the founder and organizer of the United Farmworkers union--what could be more beautiful?

This exciting moment--the dedication of Cesar's home and UFW center as a national historical monument--came today.

Here's the story in The Bakersfield Californian, as edited by my husband, John Arthur.

The president flew into Bakersfield's airport and went by motorcade to Keene (on Hwy. 58 in the Tehachapi Mountains), where farmworkers' headquarters has been since 1971. 

One of John's college friends, Larry Tramulto, was an organizer working with Cesar for twenty years.  I lived in Bakersfield for five years and graduated from East Bakersfield High School.  John is living and working there now as editor of the paper, after leaving the LA Times. 

There are many discouraging hotpoints in the world today--Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Israel vs. Palestine and Iran--but here is a moment of hope: 

an African-American president of the US and former community organizer
pays tribute to a Mexican-American organizer of farmworkers. 

Yes, it's in the President's best interest to make this trip as he campaigns for re-election--but no matter what happens in November, this moment of racial and political harmony took place. 

The 1% may own most of the economic resources, but there was still room for these two poor young men to have a vision and make a mark.

La Paz is the name given by Cesar to the community there--actually Nuestra Senora Reina de la Paz. 

Our Lady, Queen of Peace.  Women appear in the dedication today too: Helen Chavez (widow of Cesar), Dolores Huerta, and the mother of Jesus.

Peace, paz, shalom, salaam to everyone.

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