If you give yourself totally to the nonviolence struggle for peace and justice you also find that people give you their hearts and you will never go hungry and never be alone.
There is no substitute for hard work, 23 or 24 hours a day. And there is no substitute for patience and acceptance.
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.
If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him -- the people who give you their food give you their heart.
If they had $2.00 for food, they had to give $1.00 to the union. Otherwise, they would never get out of the trap of poverty. They would never have a union because they couldn't afford to sacrifice a little bit more on top of their misery.
Do not romanticize the poor...We are all people, human beings subject to the same temptations and faults as all others. Our poverty damages our dignity.
If you're not frightened that you might fail, you'll never do the job. If you're frightened, you'll work like crazy.
If you're outraged at conditions, then you can't possibly be free or happy until you devote all your time to changing them and do nothing but that. But you can't change anything if you want to hold onto a good job, a good way of life and avoid sacrifice.
Farm workers are society's canaries. Farm workers -- and their children -- demonstrate the effects of pesticide poisoning before anyone else.
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.
Our union represents a breaking away...represents sharing a power, represent questioning, represents a new force...however long it takes, we are geared for a struggle.
The consumer boycott is the only open door in the dark corridor of nothingness down which farm workers have had to walk for many years. It is a gate of hope through which they expect to find the sunlight of a better life for themselves and their families.
Concentration is inspiration. You must be completely overtaken by your work and your subject. Only then do all your influences and experience come up to the surface.
It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life.
It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life. I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice.
Non-violence exacts a very high price from one who practices it. But once you are able to meet that demand then you can do most things.
When workers fall back on violence, they are lost. Oh, they might win some of their demands and might end a strike a little earlier, but they give up their imagination, their creativity, their will to work hard and to suffer for what they believe is right.
Non violence means people in action. People have to understand that with non-violence goes a hell of a lot of organization.
I would not take one cup of coffee from a grower...There's not a good one. I hate them. A few presents, a little talk, then the noose. That's how capitalism works.
In the no-nonsense school of adversity, which we did not choose for ourselves, we are learning how to operate a labor union.
We don't know how God chooses martyrs. We do know that they give us the most precious gift they possess -- their very lives.
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.
Through Gandhi and my own life experience, I have learned about nonviolence. I believe that human life is a very special gift from God, and that no one has a right to take that away in any cause, however just. I am convinced that nonviolence is more powerful than violence.
True wealth is not measured in money or status or power. It is measured in the legacy we leave behind for those we love and those we inspire.
If you are interested in preventing animal suffering, the first thing you should give up is eggs and milk, because the animals who produce those foods lead the most unhappy lives. You would do better to eat meat and stop eating eggs and dairy products.
There's no turning back...We will win. We are winning because ours is a revolution of mind and heart.
Imagine the National Guard being called against a group of peaceful people. How far can we get; how disgraceful can it become? It's the most disgraceful, the most wicked thing I've seen in all my years of organizing farm labor.
Our struggle is not easy. Those who oppose our cause are rich and powerful and they have many allies in high places. We are poor. Our allies are few. But we have something the rich do not own. We have our bodies and spirits and the justice of our cause as our weapons.
The strike and the boycott, they have cost us much. What they have not paid us in wages, better working conditions, and new contracts, they have paid us in self-respect and human dignity.
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.
Never, never is it possible to reach someone if you become angry or bitter only love and gentleness can do it. Maybe not this time but maybe the next or the hundredth time.
Years of misguided teaching have resulted in the destruction of the best in our society, in our cultures and in the environment.
Violence just hurts those who are already hurt...Instead of exposing the brutality of the oppressor, it justifies it.
The non-violent technique does not depend for its success on the goodwill of the oppressor, but rather on the unfailing assistance of God.
In the final analysis it doesn't really matter what the political system is...We don't need perfect political systems; we need perfect participation.
To make a great dream come true, the first requirement is a great capacity to dream; the second is persistence.
It's amazing how people can get so excited about a rocket to the moon and not give a damn about smog, oil leaks, the devastation of the environment with pesticides, hunger, disease. When the poor share some of the power that the affluent now monopolize, we will give a damn.
We shall strike. We shall organize boycotts. We shall demonstrate and have political campaigns. We shall pursue the revolution we have proposed. We are sons and daughters of the farm workers' revolution, a revolution of the poor seeking bread and justice.
If we are full of hatred, we can't really do our work. Hatred saps all that strength and energy we need to plan.
Today, the growers are like a punch-drunk old boxer who doesn't know he's past his prime. The times are changing. The political and social environment has changed. The chickens are coming home to roost -- and the time to account for past sins is approaching.
When the man who feeds the world by toiling in the fields is himself deprived of the basic rights of feeding, sheltering, and caring for his own family, the whole community of man is sick.
Our very lives are dependent, for sustenance, on the sweat and sacrifice of the campesinos. Children of farm workers should be as proud of their parents' professions as other children are of theirs.
We are confident. We have ourselves. We know how to sacrifice. We know how to work. We know how to combat the forces that oppose us. But even more than that, we are true believers in the whole idea of justice. Justice is so much on our side, that that is going to see us through.
Our language is the reflection of ourselves.
Our language is the reflection of ourselves. A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers.
Kindness and compassion towards all living things is a mark of a civilized society. Conversely, cruelty, whether it is directed against human beings or against animals, is not the exclusive province of any one culture or community of people.
We know we cannot be kind to animals until we stop exploiting them -- exploiting animals in the name of science, exploiting animals in the name of sport, exploiting animals in the name of fashion, and yes, exploiting animals in the name of food.
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.
What we do know absolutely is that human lives are worth more than grapes and that innocent-looking grapes on the table may disguise poisonous residues hidden deep inside where washing cannot reach.
Since the Church is to be servant to the poor, it is our fault if that wealth is not channeled to help the poor in our world.
Who gets the risks? The risks are given to the consumer, the unsuspecting consumer and the poor work force. And who gets the benefits? The benefits are only for the corporations, for the money makers.
There are vivid memories from my childhood-what we had to go through because of low wages and the conditions, basically because there was no union. I suppose if I wanted to be fair I could say that I'm trying to settle a personal score. I could dramatize it by saying that I want to bring social justice to farm workers. But the truth is that I went through a lot of hell, and a lot of people did. If we can even the score a little for the workers then we are doing something. Besides, I don't know any other work I like to do better than this. I really don't.