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Cesar Chavez Quotes that Will Motivate You into Action

Get ready to be motivated into making a difference with these Cesar Chavez quotes.

If you know the name Martin Luther King Jr., you should also know the name Cesar Chavez. However, many people don’t. While he wasn’t known for being the great speaker that Dr. King was known for, he had a soft-spoken and peaceful approach to civil rights in another area that led to important changes.

Born into a Mexican American family, Cesar Chavez spent the early part of his working career as a manual laborer. This led him to see the injustice that was taking place with most farm workers, many of who were of Latino descent.

The actions that he took helped to better the workforce and treatment of many and he became known as the most famous Latino American civil rights activist. His action, passion, and insight will inspire you to take action of your own.

Cesar Chavez Quotes on Working with others

1. “You are never strong enough where you don’t need help.” – Cesar Chavez

2. “The end of all knowledge should be service to others.” – Cesar Chavez

3. “Students must have initiative; they should not be mere imitators. They must learn to think and act for themselves, and be free.” – Cesar Chavez

4. “You must become a servant of the people. When you do, you can demand their commitment in return.” – Cesar Chavez

5. “The people united will never be defeated.” – Cesar Chavez

6. “Together, all things are possible.” – Cesar Chavez

7. “To be a man is to suffer for others.” – Cesar Chavez

8. “When you have people together who believe in something – things happen.” – Cesar Chavez

9. “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

10. “There are many reasons for why a man does what he does. To be himself he must be able to give it all. If a leader cannot give it all he cannot expect his people to give anything.” – Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez quotes on hard work and action

11. “There is no substitute for hard work, 23 or 24 hours a day. And there is no substitute for patience and acceptance.” – Cesar Chavez

12. “Talk is cheap, it is the way we organize and use our lives every day that tells what we believe in.” – Cesar Chavez

13. “If you’re not frightened that you might fail, you’ll never do the job. If you’re frightened, you’ll work like crazy.” – Cesar Chavez

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14. “When a man or woman, young, or old, takes a place on the picket line for even a day or two, he will never be the same again.” – Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez quotes on violence

15. “Non-violence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak. Non-violence is hard work. It is the willingness to sacrifice. It is the patience to win.” – Cesar Chavez

16. “The non-violent technique does not depend for its success on the goodwill of the oppressor, but rather on the unfailing assistance of God.” – Cesar Chavez

17. “The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating.” – Cesar Chavez

18. “Nonviolence is really tough. You don’t practice nonviolence at conferences; you practice it on the picket-lines.” – Cesar Chavez

19. “In 1968, I became a vegetarian after realizing that animals feel afraid, cold, hungry, and unhappy like we do.” – Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez quotes on social change

20. “Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.” – Cesar Chavez

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

22. “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 sake and for our own.” – Cesar Chavez

23. “The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.” – Cesar Chavez

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

25. “Only when we have become nonviolent towards all life will we have learned to live well ourselves.” – Cesar Chavez

26. “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. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.” – Cesar Chavez

27. “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

28. “Just as Dr. King was a disciple of Gandhi and Christ, we must now be Dr. King’s disciples. Dr. King challenged us to work for a greater humanity. I only hope that we are worthy of his challenge.” – Cesar Chavez

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29. “It’s ironic that those who till the soil, cultivate and harvest the fruits, vegetables, and other foods that fill your tables with abundance have nothing left for themselves.” – Cesar Chavez

30. “Society is made up of groups, and as long as the smaller groups do not have the same rights and the same protection as others – I don’t care whether you call it capitalism or communism -it is not going to work. Somehow, the guys in power have to be reached by counterpower, or through a change in their hearts and minds, or change will not come.” – Cesar Chavez

31. “It takes a lot of punishment to be able to do anything to change the social order.” – Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez quotes on setting the right example

32. “Our language is the reflection of ourselves.” – Cesar Chavez

33. “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

 34. “Never, never is it possible to reach someone if you become angry or bitter, only love and gentleness can do it.” – Cesar Chavez

35. “Years of misguided teaching have resulted in the destruction of the best in our society, in our cultures and in the environment.” – Cesar Chavez

36. “Perseverance of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.” – Cesar Chavez

37. “What I do shows people what kind of person I am.” – Cesar Chavez

38. “It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life.” – Cesar Chavez

39. “Those who are willing to sacrifice and be of service have very little difficulty with people. They know what they are all about. People can’t help but want to be near them. They help them; they work with them. That’s what love is all about. It starts with your heart and radiates out.” – Cesar Chavez

40. “Grant me courage to serve others; for in service there is true life.” – Cesar Chavez (see more quotes on courage)

41. “The love for justice that is in us is not only the best part of our being but it is also the most true to our nature.” – Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez quotes on endurance

42. “We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure.” – Cesar Chavez

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43. “From the depth of need and despair, people can work together, can organize themselves to solve their own problems and fill their own needs with dignity and strength.” – Cesar Chavez

44. “In the no-nonsense school of adversity, which we did not choose for ourselves, we are learning how to operate a labor union.” – Cesar Chavez

45. “We have suffered unnumbered ills and crimes in the name of the Law of the Land. Our men, women, and children have suffered not only the basic brutality of stoop labor, and the most obvious injustices of the system; they have also suffered the desperation of knowing that the system caters to the greed of callous men and not to our needs. Now we will suffer for the purpose of ending the poverty, the misery, and the injustice, with the hope that our children will not be exploited as we have been. They have imposed hunger on us, and now we hunger for justice.” – Cesar Chavez

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

47. “We are suffering. We have suffered. And we are not afraid to suffer in order to win our cause.” – Cesar Chavez

48. “When any person suffers for someone in greater need, that person is a human.” – Cesar Chavez

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

50. “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

You might also like these Howard Thurman quotes that helped shape a movement.

What’s your cause?

Hopefully, these Cesar Chavez quotes left you fired up and ready to make a difference in the world. Whether you want to continue supporting his efforts or work to support a cause of your own, it doesn’t matter. What does matter, is that you see that each person can make a difference.

You don’t have to be a professional speaker, start out on a huge platform, or be college-educated to make a difference. You can make a difference today just as you are. Allow these quotes to inspire you towards action. Every little thing accomplished can help make a real and lasting change.

Which of these Cesar Chavez quotes resonated with you best? Do you have any other inspirational quotes to add? Fee free to share with us in the comment section below.

Norbert Juma, Lead Editor
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