Ever since I met Cesar Chavez as a young undergraduate student at Stanford University in 1991, I’ve considered him one of our greatest inspirational leaders. He taught us about the United Farm Workers (UFW) movement and its implications for people like my father, who had been a seasonal farm-worker for many years. I thanked Cesar for fighting for people like my father who work so hard for so little in order to provide for their family and create a better life for their children.
I remember and honor Cesar Chavez as someone who fought for dignity, respect and equal opportunity for all.
During Cesar Chavez’s generation, the battles were primarily waged on farms and in factories to ensure a respectable wage for hard work, a most fundamental right for any human being. Yet, as he shared during his visit at Stanford, he envisioned a future where the children of farm-workers would never have to set foot on a field and instead put their minds to work in the highest institutions. And, Cesar added, a solid education is the only ‘bullet-proof path’ to a secure and rewarding future for our youth.
Education has certainly been my bulletproof path. Young people -- regardless of their economic circumstances -- deserve the right to succeed. Today, I am proud to work at AT&T, a company with its own legacy of excellence and leadership that truly embraces the power of education. Through Aspire, AT&T’s $350 million commitment to education, AT&T supports communities to fight the high school dropout crisis, an issue that predominantly impacts students from low-income families.
Tomorrow’s careers and jobs will increasingly require advanced skills and a familiarity with technology. Indeed, we can expect technology and innovation to continue to improve and disrupt many industries. Our youth are avid and proficient users of technology, and we should continue to tap into this natural affinity to ensure their educational and career success.
As we continue to blaze forward into today’s technological era, let’s think about the innovative, practical and relevant ways that our youth can get the education and training they need to seize the best jobs that tomorrow will bring. By working together and thinking about the infinite possibilities for our youth, our families and our communities, we can build a better future for all Californians and keep the spirit and legacy of Cesar Chavez alive.