Chávez wanted better lives for farmworkers. In 1962, he helped start a group of workers that later became the United Farm Workers union.
“It was all about fairness and respect,” says Paul Chávez, César’s son. “He said, ‘Once they see us as human beings and respect us, the rest will follow.’”
Chávez used other peaceful methods. In 1965, he took on the owners of California grape farms. He asked their workers to strike, or refuse to work. He helped set up a boycott, which convinced people to stop buying grapes.
In 1966, he brought more attention to his ideas. He led farmworkers on a 300-mile march to California’s capital, Sacramento.
“When he marched, he inspired people to go out and exercise their rights,” Paul Chávez says.
Ten years later, California passed a law that let farmworkers form unions. This helped more workers get fair pay and better working conditions.