The 10 Core Values of Cesar E. Chavez

  1. Service to Others – Service that is predicated on empowering others; engendering self-help, self-determination, and self-sufficiency versus charity.
    “When we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that our lives are all that really belong to us. So, it is how we use our lives that determines what kind of [people] we are. It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life.”
  2. Sacrifice – Sacrifice that is spiritual; that is courageous and steadfast in its willingness toendure great hardship for others.
    “I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of [humanity], is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice. To be [human] is to suffer for others. God help us to be human.”
  3. A Preference to Help the Neediest – A concerted effort to support programs that reach those most in need and the most forgotten people in society no matter how difficult the challenge that choice may bring.
    “We are tired of words, of betrayals, of indifference …the years are gone when the farm worker said nothing and did nothing to help himself…Now we have new faith. Through our strong will, our movement is changing these conditions…We shall be heard.”
  4. Determination – Determination that is characterized by an attitude that with faith, steadfast commitment, patience, and optimism, human beings can prevail against all odds.
    “We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure.”
  5. Non-Violence – Invoking non-violence as the most powerful tool for achieving social/economic justice and equality; action that requires boldness and courage versus meekness and passivity.
    “Non-violence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak … Nonviolence is
    hard work. It is the willingness to sacrifice. It is the patience to win.”
  6. Acceptance of all People – Acceptance of all people is an essential ingredient for success in organizing diverse forces to achieve social change, create community, and actualize democracy. This is an absolute necessity for the well-being of this country.
    “We need to help students and parents cherish and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens … this nation.”
  7. Respect for Life and the Environment – Respect that holds as sacred the land, the people, and all other forms of life.
    “However important the struggle is and however much misery and poverty and degradation exist, we know that it cannot be more important than one human life.”
  8. Celebrating Community – Sharing the respectful expression of cultural diversity through the reinforcement of the values of equity and responsibility to and for one another.
    “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 sakes and for our own.”
  9. Knowledge – The pursuit of self-directed learning and the development of critical thinking and constructive problem-solving skills; overcoming ignorance through education.
    “Students must have initiative; they should not be mere imitators. They must learn to think and act for themselves and be free.”
  10. Innovation – A creative capacity to find pragmatic strategies and tactics to resolve problems and situations that often seem insurmountable to others.
    “A lasting organization is one in which people will continue to build, develop and move when you are not there.”