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Mexican History

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Introduction: The United States today has a large population of Mexicans, and has had a significantly large population of Mexicans since they became U.S citizens after the Treaty of Hidalgo was signed in 1848. The treaty was an agreement between the U.S, and Mexico, transferring land to the U.S, but not only did they get land; Mexicans who resided in those states also stayed, and most became U.S citizens. Since then, Mexicans, and their U.S born children have faced many problems such as, discrimination, inequality, and segregation. For many years Mexicans, and Mexican-Americans dealt with the inequality, until the 1960’s when they decided that there had to be an end to all the discrimination that Mexicans faced, and started what is now known as the Chicano Movement. The Chicano Movement had a huge impact on not only Chicanos, but also on the nation. A) During the 60’s there were several civil rights movements that took place, and according to Rodolfo F. Acuna “the bases of social movements were inequality, and a moral outrage at the lack of fairness in the system” (Acuna 287), and this is what the Chicano Movement was. In order to understand the Chicano Movement, it must be defined; in short, the Chicano Movement was part of the Civil Rights movement during the 60’s whose goal was to get better education, voting rights, equal wages, and restoration of land grants; as it had originally been agreed to in the Treaty of Hidalgo. The word “Chicano” used to be considered a bad word, a word used to describe the Mexican-Americans, whose parents were immigrants. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the word “Chicano” became more politically correct (definition handout). The history of the Chicano Movement is very important, and is part of the reason why current generation Mexicans have the freedom they do today. According to Acuna, during the sixties the Chicano Movement became so big because “the Mexican American identity reached a point where it was integrated into the political life of the nation. The Chicano population had reached a critical mass in numbers, and because it was concentrated in cities it could no longer be ignored” (Acuna 286). During this movement there were many Mexicans that boycotted, went on strikes, and protested to get their voices heard. Some events include school walkouts, and the farmworkers movement. The first school walkouts took place in East Los Angeles where 10,000 students walked out of five high schools, their goal was to put an end to the discrimination that Chicanos were facing (Acuna 302). During the Chicano Movement there were many organizations that were formed to help put an end to the inequality, a great example would be the Farmworkers Movement. Farmworkers were treated with no respect for all the work they did, they would get paid very low wages, and had poor housing, and health codes, this is when Cesar Chavez, a well-known activist, formed the United Farm Workers Association, along with Dolores Huerta. B: Chavez) Cesar Chavez was born in 1927 in Yuma, Arizona, and spent most of “his childhood as a migrant worker, he then later moved to San Jose, California where he married his wife Helen Fabela” (Acuna 297), and worked for the Community Service Organization (CSO). The CSO was an organization which worked to try to improve the Mexican communities. Since Chavez spent most of his childhood working in the fields he knew, and understood first-hand the injustice towards Mexicans by farm growers. He was part of the Chicano Movement during the sixties, and felt very strong about farmworkers deserving better working conditions, and wages, so he followed the example of Mohanda Gandhi by peacefully refusing to obey unjust laws, by using tactics such as boycotting, protesting, and fasting to get his voice heard. Chavez created the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) to stop all inequality for farmworkers, and later on joined another Association, creating what is now a farmworkers union called United Farm Workers (UFW). Just like Chavez, there were many great activists during the Chicano Movement, like great leader Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales. B: Gonzales) Gonzales was born on June 18, 1928 in Denver, Colorado, and just like Chavez, his father was a migrant worker. Corky was a professional featherweight boxer from 1947-1955, until the sixties when he organized a group called “Los Voluntarios” to fight against police brutality (Acuna 308). He is best known for his epic poem, “I am Joaquin”. His poem reached out to the Chicano Youth, and describes the identity crisis there was during the sixties. Gonzales founded the Crusade for Justice in Denver, which just like all of the other organizations during the Chicano Movement, sought to bring equality to the Chicano community. His organization backed the school walk outs, fought against police brutality, and even “organized the first annual Chicano Youth Conference in Denver” (Acuna 308), where El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan was adopted. The purpose of the plan was to unite, and create freedom for all Chicanos. C) Without the involvement of Chavez, and Gonzales in the Chicano Movement, I would not have access to the education that I have today. If Chavez wouldn’t have created a Union for the Farm Workers, my family would still be working in horrible conditions, with low wages, and I would have had to give up my education, just to help work. Gonzales’ contributions in the Chicano Movement has affected my life tremendously. If it were not for him, and the students that were involved in the crusade for justice, my education today would not be the same. I would probably have to drop out of school to fight for the rights of us Chicanos, just as students did in the sixties. The passion, perseverance, and their involvement in the Chicano Movement has left an everlasting impression on the Chicano community. Conclusion: The purpose of the Chicano Movement was to end the inequality, and injustice towards Mexicans, and because of the perseverance, and passion that Chicano leaders had back then, Mexicans in the U.S now have more freedom, and equality today than they did back then. The efforts that Chicano Movement leaders put in by using strategies such as boycotts, strikes, and protests helped with creating a better meaning for the word Chicano. The sixties was a time in history when Mexicans were finally being recognized, and things were actually changing. Together the leaders, and organizers during the Chicano Movement accomplished their goals, and made a difference in Chicanos life’s today.

Works Cited
Acuna, Rodolfo. Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. 7th ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2011.
“Chicano Civil Rights Movement: Quest for homeland.” History 327. American River College. Fall 2014 Handout.
“Farmworkers struggle in the fields.” History 327. American River College. Fall 2014. Handout.
History 327 Definitions Handout. History 327. American River College. Fall 2014. Handout.…...

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