The Woman Next to the Man

By: Real Mom Daily Staff

“Because we all know what it takes to be the strong woman behind a movement, we prefer to call it- Chavez Day. ”

Helena Fabela Chavez; born January 21, 1928, was in her own right an American labor activist for the United Farm Workers Of America. She was a first generation American Chicana with a simple upbringing and minimal education. Both of her parents were migrant farm workers and as a child she too would work in the fields. The eldest of 6 children, when she was fifteen, she dropped out of school in order to take care her family after her father passed away.

While still in High School , Helena met Cesar Chavez and after his service in World War II she married him at the age of 20. Because of Helena’s father’s involvement in the Mexican Revolution, she was, from a young age, exposed to political activism. Together, Helena and Cesar found a passion in labor organizing.

For the most part, Helena stayed “behind the scenes” finding ways to raise her 6 children and work through the movement administratively. However, there were four arrests for “civil disobedience”  – two of which received great attention. Because of her history of hardship and working in the fields, she became an invaluable beacon which challenged the role and created a template for female activism in within the Latino community.

“Si, se puede.” A slogan both she and her husband coined – Is Spanish for:  Yes, it can be done.—

Haven’t we heard something similar to this? Perhaps our “Yes We Can”, President Obama was honoring a teacher when he made Ceasar Chavez Day, a federal commemorative holiday.

But, because we all know what it takes to be the strong woman behind a movement, we prefer to call it Chavez Day.

Si, se puede. xoxo

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