César Chávez (1927–1993) – civil rights activist, Latino and farm laborer – was a truly religious and spiritual figure, as well as a community organizer and social entrepreneur, an advocate for nonviolent social change and a crusader for the environment. He also loved his two German shepherds, Boycott and Huelga (“strike”), dogs that he got in the 1970s and that he trained himself.
The German Shepherds kept Chavez and his family safe in La Paz, United Farm Workers’ headquarters in Keene, California. You were with him almost everywhere, including on the road when he was in his car. He attributed to them the deepening of his belief that all lives, without exception, are valuable.
The dogs even helped deepen his commitment to vegetarianism. As he said, “I became a vegetarian after realizing that animals are scared, cold, hungry and unhappy like us. I feel very deeply connected to vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. It was my dog boycott that made me question people’s right to eat other living things. The basis for peace is respect for all creatures. “
Chavez was also committed to animal rights. “Kindness and compassion for all living beings are a sign of a civilized society,” he said. “Racism, economic deprivation, dogfighting and cockfighting, bullfighting and rodeos are all cut from the same flawed material: violence.”
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In 1993 Defense of Animals gave him the Lifetime Achievement Award for “deep appreciation of everything he has done and achieved for his fellow human beings and non-human beings”. In his acceptance speech, he said that the basis for peace is to respect all creatures. “We have to work twice as hard in a special way so that everyone understands that animals are fellow creatures. We must protect and love them as we love ourselves. “
Before Chavez died in his sleep on April 23, 1993, Chavez had told his brother Richard that he wanted his body to be placed in a pine coffin and buried in the rose garden near the boycott and Huelga’s final resting place – a permanent vision that in what remains Now the memorial garden is located at the national monument César E. Chávez in Keene.