What would Chavez have done?

“Scold everybody for wasting so much time,” says son Paul Chevez referring to Portland’s unresolved two-year street-naming saga.   The interview appears in a long-over due piece  by Gosia Wozniacka in The Oregonian.   Chavez was a national leader of a broad movement unbounded by ethnic lines, who only later in life emerged as a Chicano/Latino/Hispanic role model.   (Note poignant 1968 photo of Chavez with a soon-to-be-assassinated RFK at the conclusion of a hunger strike which refocussed the Farmworkers on the path of nonviolence.)  

Jump to this weekend in Chavez’ old stomping grounds.   California’s gay rights activists have taken their  “Meet in the Middle for Equality” to California’s Central Valley.   Chavez’ core constituents and their descendants are seriously discussing  Proposition 8 and the implications for “liberty and justice for all.”  

It was former Mayoral City Council candidate Ed Garren who drew my attention to the Oregonian piece, adding this:

Decades before it was popular or politically expedient to embrace the GLBTQ community, Cesar came to EVERY large rally or gathering when we were fighting for our rights in California.
When our backs were against the wall in the first LaRouche HIV quarantine initiative (Prop. 64) and we needed lots of campaign literature printed inexpensively, it was the Farmworkers Press in Tehapachi CA that printed them for us AT COST and with a “union bug.”   
The man was as close to a saint as any human being who has lived in my lifetime.  I’m just sorry more people don’t know that.
Decades before it was popular or politically expedient to embrace the GLBTQ community, Cesar came to EVERY large rally or gathering when we were fighting for our rights in California.

When our backs were against the wall in the first LaRouche HIV quarantine initiative (Prop. 64) and we needed lots of campaign literature printed inexpensively, it was the Farmworkers Press in Tehapachi CA that printed them for us AT COST and with a “union bug.”   

The man was as close to a saint as any human being who has lived in my lifetime.  I’m just sorry more people don’t know that.

Okay, Portland, time to come together on this one.  Here in the City that Talks, two-years is not too long.  It’s just that the conversation has been diced and shredded into the pettiest of viewpoints, turf battles and whining about entitlements.  Time to take a serious look at Hugo Chavez as the great American leader.  

Talk is okay.   Sure, it would be nice if a local university hosted a national colloquium on Chavez.  Or if Gust VanSant made made a Milk-powerful documentary.  But we know enough.  We need to find an appropriate way for Portlanders to say thank you.  ( See Ed’s case – third comment following article – for renaming Division Street and possibly have the name run straight from the food-loving city to the farmlands of East Multnomah County. )  And we need to do it sooner rather than later.

Advertisements

4 responses to “What would Chavez have done?

  1. Thanks Carol for quoting me. I ran for City Commission, seat #2, not mayor. Nick Fish won, and we have stayed friends.

    The Chavez street naming has been (to use an old military term) a “Cluster F–k” since day one. I do understand some of the citizen outrage about the lack of conversation and better planning.

    I think part of what created that mess was doing a process which was mostly expedient for the city, rather than a process that honored both residents and Mr. Chavez. One of the pit falls of any bureaucracy is that it can become expediency driven rather than constituent driven. That’s why dialogue is SO important from the beginning, not after the fact.

  2. Appreciate the correction, Ed, and glad to see you’re staying in shape in the event of a future run.

    Good analysis of the street-naming mess. Yes, really hard to back track and get the discussion back on track.

  3. Pingback: Posts about La Raza as of May 31, 2009 | EL CHUCO TIMES

  4. this is a great piece!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s