Latinitas - A Strong Voice for Latina Youth

The recently released movie Cesar Chavez delivered on so many levels. I, for one,learned Diego Luna is more than a pretty face in Mexican cinema, but is also an important director, someone who grew up outside the American experience who could see the value of telling one of our most important histories.  If any of you are taking a social studies class right now in 6th, 7th, 8th grade or high school you are probably learning about a lot of men named Washington, Jackson and Madison and very little about others named Chavez, Attucks or Marshall* and even less about women named Sampson, Davis and Huerta.**  Recorded American history has eluded us for years. If we stayed true to public education's point of view we'd think as females we hadn't any part in the country's origin, development and success.  Same goes for the roles of heroes of color and that is why I couldn't be happier about the new movie Cesar Chavez.  Depicting one of the most important segments of the civil rights movement of the 50s, 60s and beyond and the power of people mobilizing for good, actors Michael Peña, America Ferrara and Rosario Dawson bring to life some of the most important figures in public demonstration: Cesar Chavez, his wife Helen and Dolores Huerta - Americans who sacrificed time, safety, income and more to help those suffering in a system of modern day slavery - underpaid, abused and overworked farm workers.  The movie is a condensed depiction of the powerless fighting the rich and powerful, the impact of other social and religious groups helping to fight injustice and how civil disobedience and non-violent activism works  I was fortunate to see this movie with a room full of Chicano and other activists here in Austin, TX and felt overwhelmed by the movie's premise: the challenge of uniting and succeeding the cause of people who weren't considered American, though they were, were living in utter poverty and were facing hunger, homeless and even death while fighting their cause.  I was, of course, equally inspired and ultimately moved to channel that into my own efforts in Latinitas.  I really thank Pantelion Films for fighting for a place in mainstream media and distribution for this film, Cesar Chavez and others like it and encourage you all to see this film - not just because it was a great story and is well shot, but because it's time to see more films about "other" Americans who designed and built U.S. freedoms we take as the norm now.

*Cesar Chavez, founder of the United Farm Workers Union and civil rights activist, Crispus Attucks, first African American killed in the American Revolution and Thurgood Marshall, first African American Supreme Court Justice

**Deborah Sampson, female who fought in civil war disguised as a man, Angela Davis, academic and African American activist part of the Black Panther movement and Dolores Huerta, founder of the United Farm Workers Union and civil rights activist

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