Stella Pope Duarte

There is a place for you

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On April 23, 2003, I had the privilege of unveiling the stamp honoring Cesar Chavez, at Cesar Chavez High School, along with Governor Janet Napolitano, U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, and a representative from the U.S Post Office. It was a day in which Cesar Chavez’ words rang out with passion and pride for all: “There is no turning back. We are winning because ours is a revolution of the mind and the heart. What is at stake is human dignity.”

In response to this special occasion, and as a salute to Arizona’s native son, born on March 31, 1927, near Yuma, the following poem was written in a humble attempt to capture the love of la raza for its foremost human rights leader. 

There is a place for you in America
Cesar Estrada Chavez,
beside the dusty fields you labored in,
stooping,
sweating close to la raza, your people
trapped between pesticide-infested earth
and the blazing sun.

There is a place for you in America
Cesar Estrada Chavez,
marching with la raza, your people,
in boycotts, strikes, las huelgas
aching feet pounding city streets,
aching heart pumping out the
melody of love –
love to soften the hearts of those
who keep your people chained to the earth.

There is a place for you in America
Cesar Estrada Chavez,
where people chant and shout
Si se puede,” el grito de la libertad
the cry of freedom,
eyes held steady, heads uplifted
unafraid to dream that one day,
yes, one day in America, poverty will come to an end.

There is a place for you in America
Cesar Estrada Chavez
in hearts that know the truth –
we are one family,
rich, poor, strong, weak, farm-worker,
boss, white, brown, black, red.
We share earth, air, water, wind.

From humble beginnings you have taught us courage
you have taught us hope
you have taught us to resist injustice
you have taught us to see God in one another.

There is a place for you in America
Cesar Estrada Chavez,
here, yes here, in the hearts of
LA RAZA! Your people.

Stella Pope Duarte was born and raised in South Phoenix. She began her award-winning career in 1995 after she had a dream in which her deceased father told her that her destiny was to become a writer. Contact her at stellapopeduarte.com.

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