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March 17, 2020

IMG_20200315_130204My travel plans change minute by minute, turn by turn. It’s how I do it, and it has worked out for me so far. I was headed into Death Valley. It was very windy, and the messenger in my head said “Nope.” So I turned as soon as I could and headed in a different direction.

A while later, the nudge was to get off at the next exit, up in the mountains near Tehachapi. A road sign pointed me to the César Chávez National Monument in Keene.

A narrow winding road led to a building set in the middle of a beautiful garden. Only one car was in the parking lot, and a woman was raising four flags – US, California, National Parks Service, and the red and black eagle of the United Farm Workers.

The flowering plums were dropping their petals in the breeze, a spring shower of soft white floating down onto the walkways.

After a little hesitation, I entered the building. Social isolation from the Corona virus was just starting in earnest, and I wasn’t sure they were open, but the young woman said “For today, we are. Today.”

The museum has many photos from the UFW organizing and strikes, as well as an example of farmworker housing, Chávez’s office, and a shrine.

The Corona virus and our coming struggle were much on my mind as I learned about what the farmworkers went through.


The first strike lasted five years. Five years. On day two of Corona virus panic, people were already losing their minds, and these humble workers had spent five years giving up everything – their homes, their cars, their health – for a better future.

They had faith…”the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” No one guaranteed them anything. There was no sign they would make any gains. And yet they persisted.

In the center of the garden, near a waterfall representing the martyrs of the movement, lie the graves of César Chávez and his wife, Helen. I stood there and prayed a while. May we all be touched by their strength.


  1. March 17, 2020 10:07

    This is the best. And how timely. So glad you listen to your intuition. Love to read about your travels.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    March 17, 2020 15:05


  3. VDog permalink
    March 17, 2020 16:37


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