The betrayer of the immigrant fields: Cesar Chavez


Sofia Macedo Garcia

A building honoring Cesar Chavez resides in Santa Ana College causing conflict among students.

According to a recent NY Times article by Jeffery C. Mays and Zachary Small, Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson’s reputation is being highly questioned by N.Y.C. council chambers due to his known slaveholding history. Similarly, Cesar Chavez is most commonly noticed as a Chicano “icon.” Chavez was able to give more rights to Hispanics who worked in the field. However, there are many flawed things he has done that the Hispanic community doesn’t know about.

Although recognized as a Chicano icon, Chavez despised the undocumented people he would work with so much to the point that he felt that he had the need to convince his supporters to deport them. The LA Times article, Column: Woke California pays homage this week to another American hero with a complex legacy by Gustavo Arellano, stated, “He opposed undocumented immigrants to the point of urging his followers to report them to la migra..” 

Should his legacy of being an icon in the Chicano community be respected?

Senior, Jamie Sanchez, 17 said, “Definitely not. I feel like him, especially should know the struggles that Mexicans have gone through and other immigrants as well. He should know how hard they work, it’s a messed up figure to have because of what he did.”

Over the years, Santa Ana College has had a very positive outlook and representation of its diverse demographic. There have been many celebrations and gratitude for not only the Hispanic military community that came to SAC, but also their representation to the Chicano community as a collective.

However, many of you have either been inside or have passed across one of SAC’s buildings called the Cesar Chavez Building. Although it could’ve been all in great intention for a college to want to appeal to its demographic, should they still keep that building’s name after revealing what Chavez has done behind the scenes?

Senior Deborah Sanchez, 17, said, “I think it matters that the students know the things Cesar Chavez did. If people had knowledge about his actions of course there would be a lot of opinions of getting rid of the building or renaming it.”

The thought that an icon meant to represent Chicanos turned his back on the people that gave him purpose on this land is disheartening. I no longer think it’s fair that when someone thinks of Chicanos, the first representation would be Chavez. I believe that if more people knew, they wouldn’t find purpose in anyone like him representing Chicanos.