“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:
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.