Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Brown, M., Cepeda, J., & Valencia, C. (2010). Side by side: The story of Delores Huerta and Cesar Chavez = Lado a lado: la historia de Dolores Huerta y César Chávez. New York: Rayo.
     Side by Side /Lado A Lado is a bilingual story, or cuento, of historical figures Dolores Huerta and César Chávez. Dolores Huerta came from a rather privileged family, but had learned from her mother to think of others who were not so fortunate. She grew up to become a teacher and saw farmworker children come to school cold, barefoot, and hungry. César Chávez came from a family of migrant laborers who worked under harsh conditions. One day Dolores and César met and discovered they believed in the same cause. They worked lado a lado, side by side, to demand better living and working conditions for farmworkers. They invited the farmworkers to join la causa, the cause for justice.  Together they changed the mindset of the workers from “we can’t do it” to “¡sí, se puede! Yes, we can!”

Social Justice Connection:

      This book can be used to discuss workers rights, societal issues faced by Latinos, and how activism can lead to change.

Dolores and César convinced people to boycott buying grapes from California because growers utilized pesticides that made the workers sick. This led to workers getting safer working conditions. 

Thousands of people from across the nation joined in the fight for justices for the exploited farmers.

Images From The Text:

Farmworkers worked long hard hours in harsh conditions. Plants were sprayed with poisons that made the farmworkers sick.

César lead people on a 340-mile march to demand better pay for farmers.

Dolores and César drove from town to town demanding better living and working conditions for the farmers.

Current Social Justice Issue Connection:

Although this story takes place in the twentieth century, it still relates to issues faced today. Despite Dolores Huerta and César Chávez's fight for farmworkers rights, today farmworkers face a new issue. They are being forced to unionize. Because of that, they have to unwillingly pay union dues with threats to be terminated if they refuse to pay.

Pedagogical Ideas:

  • Political Cartoons:
    • Have students interpret political cartoons related to the story:
  • Graphic Organizers:
    • Comparison: before reading the story, have students describe either their ideal work place conditions or what they think are standard work conditions in today's work place. After reading the story, have them compare their descriptions to the work conditions faced by the farmworkers in the story.
    • Cause and effect: 

  • Application:
    • Have students think of a cause they believe in. Ask them to explain the cause and why they believe it's worth fighting for. Then, have them explain or create a plan for how they would go about fighting for their cause.
  • Art Integration: 
    • Have students create protest signs for a cause they believe in.
    • Have students create their own political cartoons.
  • Video Connection:
    • This video could be used as a supplement to the story to explain the issue addressed in the story in a more visual way.

 Critical Thinking Questions:

  1. What basic rights should all workers expect?
  2. What was Dolores and César’s strategy for improving living and working conditions for the farm workers? 
  3. What does the phrase "power in numbers" mean to you? How does that relate to this story?
  4. What does it take to make a strong team? 
  5. Have you ever worked with a team to solve a problem?
  6.  How did being part of a team make you feel?

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