A social movement can be described as an individual, a group of people, or organizations with self or outer motive to purposely carry out an action. These formations, in a self-cohesive manner, gather their thoughts to concentrate on creating an idealistic solution to counteract social or political conflicts. There are many theories to what causes a social movement.
A common theory is the classical model in which the theory states that when a prominent disturbance is introduced into the social environment it creates a psychological anxiety amongst individuals that are affected within the boundaries of the nvironment. Feeling the need to do something, the individuals then materialize their thoughts and ideas forming the social movement. Many social movements, past and present, are concurrently building society as we know it and redefining the social constructs that are hindering these formations from fully transcending into something.
The Chicano movement is a good example of this and can be used as a template of what happens when this psychological anxiety takes form within individuals that feel the need to counteract this presence. With today’s turbulent situations arising like immigration laws and nnecessary discrimination, the Chicano Movement is more prevalent than ever and by looking back at its roots it will try to finally find a way to prevail against racism and blossom through a collective action.
This is the Chicano Movement The Chicano movement can be traced back to 1840’s shortly after the Mexican American War that created the unjust divides that are in place today. This war eventually led to the oppression of the Mexican population for years to come in the states of California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, parts of Texas, and other states with a sizeable Hispanic population.
The very people that helped define the south west were suffocated and forced to stay silent by treating them with harsh and unnecessary prejudice. It wasn’t until the 1940’s when the movement gained steam because of moral victories such as the rise of the pachuco sub- culture, but the individuals who had a sense of self identity were targeted by sailors who thought that this pachuco or zoot suit culture was un-American epically during the time of war thus leading to the 1943 zoot suit riots of Los Angeles.
Eventually 1950’s labor activism spilled over onto the 1960s and early 970s becoming the golden era of the Chicano Movement. The spine of todays modern Chicano Movement. Although there are many aspects that fueled the Chicano movement one instrumental factor that transcended the Chicano movement during this time was the formation of the United Farmers Workers Association.
The U. F. W. A is undisputedly seen as the pinnacle of breaking social constructs that were hindering Mexican-Americans in the US during the 1960’s. The U. F. W. A was formed in 1966 with the merger of Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) led by Larry Itliong, a prominent abor figure on the west coast, and the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) led by Ceaser Chavez and Dolores Huerta, also prominent activists and labor leaders.
Although more credit should be given to AWOC for taking a stance against unfair wages and giving rise to the 1965 Delano boycott, Ceaser Chavez and the NFWA decided to join AWOC due to similar goals to get rid of unjust work conditions and unfair discrimination turning the Delano Grape Boycott into a classic showcase of what happens when people become fed up with bullshit. They became the U. F. W. A, a major turning point for Hispanics and other minorities to overcome disparity and gain recognition in America as equals. The U. F. W became the core and foundation of the Chicano Movement as we know it today.
Whenever the Chicano Movement is mentioned a particular person always comes to mind and that person is Julio Cesar Chavez. Cesar Chavez was born in unfavorable conditions to a family that knew nothing but hard work. Growing up in a small home in the great depression era, he was taught at a young age about the hardships that had to be endured just to have a somewhat okay life. This mental foundation that was set in him t a young age led to his ideas and determination to take form allowing him to become the great leader that spearhead the Chicano civil rights movement.
As a young kid in Yuma, Airizon he had to endure more than others just for the simple fact that he was Hispanic in an era were social inequality was more prevalent. Around the same time the great depression hit robbing them of their hard work. Ceaser’s father, having to uproot his family to provide for them, took them to California for better opportunities. Being a hardworking family, they went straight to work as farm workers in an intolerable working nvironment of 1940’s California. Ceaser, thinking that more can be done to fulfill his and his families’ dreams, dropped out of school to work these harsh fields fulltime.
As the years progressed, he felt an anxiety to change what needed to be changed, so he became an activist in the early 1950’s for the people that experienced the cruel realties of being a migrant farm worker. Continuing this positive movement, he later co- created the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) with Dolores Huerta later to become the United Farmers Workers Association. With strikes and peaceful protests Ceaser Chavez elped bring together those who believed in the cause for equality to resonate, setting forth and becoming a pillar and a revolution himself.
The Chicano Movement isn’t just about overcoming unequal working conditions or enduring hardships, but coming together as one to embrace self-identity, to become cohesive and to think alike helping create solutions to help combat the reluctant discrimination that opposes positive aspirations. With the 1960’s being an era of Civil Rights Movements, many in the Chicano Movement at that time started to dig deep in their ancestral past to gain a better nderstanding of themselves as a culture.
Losing land during the Mexican-American War, many Hispanics felt displaced and unwelcome in the new America even though many generations of their families called the taken areas, home. Feeling robbed Mexican- Americans of that time rejected any European elements of identity. Chicanos then emphasized their relation to Aztec and other pre-Columbian cultures, often using mythology, in order to justify their identity as the direct descendants of the Aztecs. These resilient Chicano groups embraced each other and their ancient backgrounds for inspiration to overcome by dopting their historical past and infusing it with their culture.
They gave the Chicano Movement a cultural identity inspiring many to stand proud and demand acceptance. These heroes and heroines gave Rodolfo Gonzales, a prominent Chicano figure, a foundation to take a solid stance so that his culture could anchor down and finally flourish. His 1967 Poem “I am Joaquin”, helped solidify the Chicano Movement by embracing his roots and redefining what it is to be a Chicano that constantly rebuttals racism and inequalities. Even though some didn’t like being called a Chicano many came to embrace the eaning behind it feeling empowered.
Many from the Chicano Movement also found empowerment from South American and Mexican revolutions. Serving as models these movements continue to inspire the Chicano Movement as how to fight back an opposing force that’s constantly submerging a culture for personal gain. The Chicano Movement is strong and alive tearing down social structures that become toxic to a group of people. By counteracting these disturbances that creates the anxiety, the oppressed can propel themselves to higher plateau were equality isn’t biased.