Cesar Chavez and the Seasons
By observing the intersection of earth’s horizon with the sun at various times of the year, ancient people began to study how these various positions along the horizon could be used to understand what is going on correspondingly in nature — in plant life, in animal life, and in human culture.
So a horizon calendar is really a nature and cultural calendar as well — a clock of seasonal time.
The activity serves to link the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez (agricultural labor leader and environmentalist) with the pressing need for environmental stewardship. It helps link the struggle of farm workers with the need to save the earth.
The Four Directions and Four Virtues
Each of the seasons is linked with one of the four virtues of Cesar’s movement:
HOPE — SPRING
To believe that seemingly insurmountable obstacles can be overcome.
The struggle to create the United Farm Workers Union is just one example of César Chavez’s many optimistic efforts that made poor and hardworking people hopeful of achieving a better life. The East & Spring – The east is commonly associated metaphorically with the rising sun, new beginnings and hope. The Spring season begins a new cycle in nature — birth, renewal and the planting season of agriculture.
To stay with a course of noble action despite obstacles – “Sí Se Puede!”
In 1971, Arizona passed a law outlawing boycotts. Labor leaders kept telling César: “No se puede! –A campaign against the law is futile.” Chávez anwered “Si, se puede!” (Yes, it can be done). And it became a rallying cry of the movement. The South & Summer – The south is often linked with the warmth of the sun & the agricultural growing season. Metaphor-ically it is linked to the growth cycle of youth into adulthood and the determination needed to overcome obstacles & meet new challenges.
To meet danger or advance unpopular opinions without giving way to fear.
César & the United Farm Workers endured the taunts, threats & physical attacks by hired bullies with one primary defense: a courageous commitment to non-violence.“…the truest act of courage…is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally nonviolent struggle for justice.” The West & Autumn – The West is commonly associated with Sunset and Darkness, the end of the Autumn harvest cycle, and fear of the unknown. Courage allows us to face the fear of unknown and take a stand based on principled commitment.
To resolve differences peacefully by understanding the beliefs of others.
In 1968 César undertook a 25-day FAST aimed at a labor movement that was unraveling due to frustration & intolerance. Chávez said he would fast until union members renewed their pledge to respectful action. ”Love is the most important ingredient in non-violent action …Hatred saps all the strength & energy we need to plan.” North & Winter – The North is linked with Winter and its hardship, scarcity & adversity. For many traditional cultures the North is linked with their ancestors, who migrated from the North looking for a better life. The ancestors represent knowledge, patience and tolerance.
For resources on Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, go to http://chavezhuerta.org .