It’s been now about a month that the former meeting place of Cesar Chavez and his followers was honored as a Historic National Landmark. Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission Chapel in San Jose, before it became know as McDonnell Hall, was essential for the San Jose United Farm Workers movement during the 1950s and 1960s. It supported local migrant workers with basic services and a space for organisational meetings.
Cesar Chavez was introduced to Father McDonnell in 1952. McDonnell was a big influence on Chavez and started educating him on nonviolence and social justice teaching using the examples of Gandhi and St. Francis.
When McDonnell opened his parish in East San Jose it was still known as Sal Si Puedes [or “Get Out If You Can”]. In 1972 Chavez and Dolores Huerta came up with the revised phrase: Sí se puede, which Obama used in his campaign as ‘Yes, we can!”
Who is your favourite non-violent leader?
United Farm Workers: