Preserving the Chavez Legacy
The significance of Cesar Chavez, the Chavez family, and their connection to East San Jose and the broader region is immeasurable.
It is in this community where Cesar Chavez and his family learned strategies in non-violent resistance and organizing; built community cohesion; enlivened an organizing base; and began the first grape boycotts.
Cesar Chavez learned about non-violent resistance and organizing for the great cause of civil liberties for the immigrant community, especially Mexican farmworkers in San Jose. His organizing came out of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church with one of his great teachers, Fr. Donald McDonnell, and it grew out of his own home where many meetings around social justice teachings were held. One of his first grape boycotts was held where the Mexican Heritage Plaza stands today, only a short distance from the Cesar Chavez Family Home.
This place (the home, the surrounding streets, the neighborhood assets) is where Sal Si Puedes (Get Out if You Can) became a vision of Si Se Puede (Yes, We Can!).
The social justice movements started by Cesar Chavez and his allies have become core to the East San Jose community and have shaped additional movements across the decades including organizing campaigns for community safety, children’s health, education, and access to economic opportunities.
East San Jose youth in surrounding schools often learn about this history and neighborhood assets like the Chavez Family Home are unique place markers that create a sense of healing, belonging, rootedness, and connectedness. They affirm that while they and their families are often unseen and pushed to the margins, that they do have value, strength agency, and voice – contributing meaningfully to our history and society. This is exactly why it became an urgent priority to preserve the Cesar Chavez Family Home for the community of Mayfair and East San Jose.