"We thought that always you had to suffer and be hungry. That was our life."
I asked, "You mean you had to be convinced this was a problem?"
"Yeah.Yeah. I think that is why Chavez is so great.He doesn't bullshit you. He just say, 'Look, you know, people call you a son-of-a-bitch in front of your wives, your mothers, and they don't have the right to do that.'
"I had accepted that as a way of life.So what was new? So then he convinced us something has to be done, that we do not have to take that. He tells us we can do something about that, and then he turns and goes away, just saying 'I'll see you, huh?' He doesn't tell us to join him, or nothing, so naturally we had to go to Delano and hear more." He grinned.
Then Loredo's deep brown face took on a serious, yet peaceful, expression, "He started shaping my life.I changed. I completely changed. I am a different man now."
And it is true. Ernesto Loredo is a different man.He is a leader himself, a quietly determined man who says, "In the United Farm Workers we see the solution to our problems ... before it was really something else, you know? And so we are willing to do anything we can.Some of us put our jobs on the line, whatever it takes. Some of us put our lives on the line to see that we have a union ... there is no other way."
The history of farm labor is redundant. Masses of impoverished people have been imported into the work force and exploited. Low pay and intolerable working conditions, hunger and privation, are the rule for those who must work for wages on the farm. Periodically these powerless workers