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Latinas Rise: Legacy & Julie Chavez Rodriguez

White House photo.

Chasing away the legacy of misogyny Julie rises to stand at the front of the line Pulling us up uno a la vez, next to her Using her voice for unsung Latinas, Like her great grandmother Helen: Primary caregiver a ocho hijos, Casually "behind the scenes" working Using all her "spare time" to motivate César; quietly, tirelessly, propelling Him and other men, while shadowed Hemmed-in, by intense gender roles Even accepting awards on his behalf-- Cuando era ella who'd advanced Migrant Rights, her multiple arrests for La Causa. Helen taught literacy classes; rights To vote; rights and need for citizenship Yet, still demure, una madre, a caretaker While her achievements echoed loud Around the world, encendiendo el fuego Of activism for fellow Latinas while Having una niña on one hip, stirring The pot with a free hand, and writing Out dictated daily reports for César… Julie, taking the root of her, the UFWA, She began by from "behind the scenes" Picking strawberries and field learning First the AFL-CIO, the Chavez Foundation, Finding herself next to Presidente Obama. Julie, su abuela, the countless women Mothers, hijas, primas, the endless line Of Latinas muy valientes, now we all Find ourselves next to Kamala and Joe Standing on a floor full of broken glass An advocate for immigrants, Latinos, For migrant workers, unions, La Causa A Latina no longer in the shadows and Hemmed-in by intense gender roles Now in the spotlight and in "the room" Representando and mindful of all the Millions of unsung, unheard voices Y por dios, in a space where she will Accept her own award for her work. © Isabel Alvear, December 2020

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