Mexican American Cesar Chavez (1927-1993) was one of the most important civil rights leaders in American history. Born near Yuma, Arizona, on March 31, 1927,  Chavez was a firm believer in the principles of nonviolence, and he effectively employed peaceful tactics to further his cause.

Cesar Chavez employed nonviolent means to bring attention to the plight of farmworkers and formed the National Farm Workers Association, which later became United Farm Workers. As a labor leader, Chavez led marches, called for boycotts and went on several hunger strikes. His steadfast efforts helped achieve dignity, fair wages, benefits, and humane working conditions for hundreds of thousands of farmworkers. It is believed that Chavez’s hunger strikes contributed to his death on April 23, 1993, in San Luis, Arizona. Below are 28 famous Cesar Chavez quotes. Enjoy!


Powerful Cesar Chavez Quotes

True wealth is not measured in money or status or power. It is measured in the legacy we leave behind for those we love and those we inspire. - Cesar Chavez

“True wealth is not measured in money or status or power. It is measured in the legacy we leave behind for those we love and those we inspire.”

~ Cesar Chavez


Preservation of one's own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures. - Cesar Chavez

“Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.”

~ Cesar Chavez


Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. - Cesar Chavez

“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride.”

~ Cesar Chavez


To make a great dream come true, the first requirement is a great capacity to dream; the second is persistence. - Cesar Chavez

“To make a great dream come true, the first requirement is a great capacity to dream; the second is persistence.”

~ Cesar Chavez


In giving of yourself, you will discover a whole new life full of meaning and love. - Cesar Chavez

“In giving of yourself, you will discover a whole new life full of meaning and love.”

~ Cesar Chavez


We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community... Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own. - Cesar Chavez

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”

~ Cesar Chavez


History will judge societies and governments - and their institutions - not by how big they are or how well they serve the rich and the powerful, but by how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless. - Cesar Chavez

“History will judge societies and governments – and their institutions – not by how big they are or how well they serve the rich and the powerful, but by how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless.”

~ Cesar Chavez


The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people. - Cesar Chavez

“The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.”

~ Cesar Chavez


“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.”

~ Cesar Chavez


“Non-violence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak… Non-violence is hard work.”

~ Cesar Chavez


The people who give you their food give you their heart. - Cesar Chavez

“The people who give you their food give you their heart.”

~ Cesar Chavez


“When you sacrifice, you force others to sacrifice. It’s an extremely powerful weapon.”

~ Cesar Chavez


“You know, if people are not pacifists, it’s not their fault. It’s because society puts them in that spot. You’ve got to change it. You don’t just change a man – you’ve got to change his environment as you do it.”

~ Cesar Chavez


Real education should consist of drawing the goodness and the best out of our own students. What better books can there be than the book of humanity? - Cesar Chavez

“Real education should consist of drawing the goodness and the best out of our own students. What better books can there be than the book of humanity?”

~ Cesar Chavez


“We are certain God’s will is that all men share in the good things this earth produces.”

~ Cesar Chavez


“It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did not promise us that the world would be humane and just. He gives us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on earth. It is an awesome opportunity.” 

~ Cesar Chavez


Non-violence exacts a very high price from one who practices it. But once you are able to meet that demand then you can do most things. - Cesar Chavez

“Non-violence exacts a very high price from one who practices it. But once you are able to meet that demand then you can do most things.”

~ Cesar Chavez


“The road to social justice for the farm worker is the road of unionization. Our cause, our strike against table grapes and our international boycott are all founded upon our deep conviction that the form of collective self-help, which is unionization, holds far more hope for the farm worker than any other single approach, whether public or private. This conviction is what brings spirit, high hope and optimism to everything we do.”

~ Cesar Chavez


“The picket line is the best place to train organizers. One day on the picket line is where a man makes his commitment. The longer on the picket line, the stronger the commitment. A lot of workers think they make their commitment by walking off the job when nobody sees them. But you get a guy to walk off the field when his boss is watching and, in front of the other guys, throw down his tools and march right to the picket line, that is the guy who makes our strike. The picket line is a beautiful thing because it makes a man more human.”

~ Cesar Chavez


We need, in a special way, to work twice as hard to help people understand that animals are fellow creatures, that we must protect them and love them as we love ourselves... - Cesar Chavez

“We need, in a special way, to work twice as hard to help people understand that animals are fellow creatures, that we must protect them and love them as we love ourselves…”

~ Cesar Chavez


“Organizing is an educational process. The best educational process in the union is the picket line and the boycott. You learn about life.”

~ Cesar Chavez


We don't know how God chooses martyrs. We do know that they give us the most precious gift they possess - their very lives. - Cesar Chavez

“We don’t know how God chooses martyrs. We do know that they give us the most precious gift they possess – their very lives.”

~ Cesar Chavez


“Because we have suffered, and we are not afraid to suffer in order to survive, we are ready to give up everything – even our lives – in our struggle for justice.”

~ Cesar Chavez


“There is enough love and goodwill in our movement to give energy to our struggle and still have plenty left over to break down and change the climate of hate and fear around us.”

~ Cesar Chavez


If you win non-violently, then you have a double victory, you have not only won your fight, but you remain free. - Cesar Chavez

“If you win non-violently, then you have a double victory, you have not only won your fight, but you remain free.”

~ Cesar Chavez


“If you give yourself totally to the nonviolence struggle for peace and justice you also find that people give you their hearts and you will never go hungry and never be alone.” 

~ Cesar Chavez


What is at stake is human dignity. If a man is not accorded respect he cannot respect himself and if he does not respect himself, he cannot demand it. - Cesar Chavez

“What is at stake is human dignity. If a man is not accorded respect he cannot respect himself and if he does not respect himself, he cannot demand it.”

~ Cesar Chavez


“Kindness and compassion towards all living things is a mark of a civilized society. Conversely, cruelty, whether it is directed against human beings or against animals, is not the exclusive province of any one culture or community of people.”

~ Cesar Chavez


Video of Famous Cesar Chavez Quotes

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