The next time you are on 1-35 approaching 28th Street (Exit 54A) in Fort Worth, look for the brand-new Cesar Chavez Memorial Highway signs. And, if you are in the company of people that may not know of his legacy, please take a minute to tell them about Cesar.

Tell them about how he was born to Mexican American parents who lost their land during the Great Depression. Tell them how that led them to spend their lives toiling in the fields. Not only to feed their families but ours as well. And tell them how they did so in conditions that would compare to a third-world country.

Then tell them how Cesar joined his parents in the fields—often resulting in him starting school later than most. Tell them how he honorably served our country in the Navy, only to return to the same field conditions as before. Tell them that back then, unless you were a White Angelo Saxton – you were a second-class citizen. Tell them why before, people were more concerned about fundamental human rights rather than civil rights. Tell them that rather than accepting all this adversity as “Just the way it is,” he knew there was power in numbers, and working for a common cause would make a difference.

Fast Forward to 1962. Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta concluded that the only way to help improve conditions for farmworkers was to start a new Labor Union. So, they founded the United Farm Workers Union, the UFW. With the iconic slogan of ‘Si Se Puede’ (Yes, We Can). A slogan that many years later, President Obama repurposed for his campaign as, “Yes, We Can!” Tell them their story is much better than any show on Netflix. Please encourage others to visit their local library and ask for a book about the UFW Cesar and Dolores. Tell them that turning a page is much more enjoyable than swiping on the phone.

Tell them when they sit down for Thanksgiving dinner this year to think about all the faceless people that helped make their meal possible. Last, tell them that there is a lot more work to do. We must do our part for our community’s progress to continue. And part of that work is to honor the work of our ancestors, like Cesar and Dolores, by sharing it with others. An example of this is the journey that got us to this part of the story. As you go past the Cesar Freeway sign and the signs that bear his name from Beach and 28th to main Street. And from Main Street and 28th, you will see the Dolores Huerta signs ending on Jacksboro Highway. Know this; the city did not just decide to put those signs up because they woke up one day and decided it would be a nice thing to do.

The opposite is true: it took nearly ten years to make it happen. I will not go into the details, but I can say it wasn’t easy. Some people in our community would not support or did not want the name change in their area. So, I cannot end this story without thanking the membership of LULAC Council 4568. And others that joined us by speaking in support of the city council. Those groups include the Cesar Chavez committee, LULAC Council 4743, and Councilman Carlos Flores. Our work continues, and I invite you to join LULAC Council 4568 to continue our progress.

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