By Richard Bammer
It is something of an annual rite for Norma Guerrero at this time of year: teaching third-graders in Spanish and English about the life and times of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, American labor leaders and civil rights activists who co-founded the United Farm Workers Association in 1962.
One day after Cesar Chavez Day, March 31, a state holiday observed Monday, she stood near the white board of her Markham Elementary classroom, reviewing the Chavez biography while teaching a lesson on cause and effect related to the events and wherefores of his life. In later years, he devoted time to raising nationwide awareness of farm worker struggles for better pay and safer working conditions through nonviolent tactics, among them boycotts, pickets, strikes and fasts.
Using a slide projector to make her points as 22 students at their desks wrote on worksheets, Guerrero noted the labor leader’s early days in Yuma, Ariz., and his family’s decision to move to California during the Great Depression.