To Serve the People
My Life Organizing with Cesar Chavez and the Poor
With Jorge Mariscal
Published by: University of New Mexico Press
The long pilgrimage of LeRoy Chatfield weaves its way through multiple collective projects designed to better the condition of the marginalized and forgotten. From the cloisters of the Christian Brothers and the halls of secondary education to the fields of Central California and the streets of Sacramento, Chatfield's story reveals a fierce commitment to those who were denied the promises of the American dream. In this collection of what the author calls Easy Essays, Chatfield recounts his childhood, explains the social issues that have played a significant role in his life and work, and uncovers the lack of justice he saw all too frequently. His journey, alongside Cesar and Helen Chavez, Marshall Ganz, Bonnie Chatfield, Philip Vera Cruz, and countless others, displays an unwavering focus on organizing communities and expanding their agency. Follow and explore a life dedicated to equality of opportunity for all. May it inspire and guide you in your own quest for a fairer and more just society.
LeRoy Chatfield is a former organizer who worked with Cesar Chavez to get union recognition for California farmworkers, created a Saturday school educational enrichment program for farmworker children in Bakersfield, managed the Northern California general election campaign for Jerry Brown, and built the largest volunteer charitable organization in Sacramento.
Jorge Mariscal is a professor emeritus of Spanish and Chicano/a literature at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Brown-Eyed Children of the Sun: Lessons from the Chicano Movement, 1965-1975 (UNM Press).
"Showcases a life dedicated to equality of opportunity for all that will inspire and guide readers in their quest for a fairer and more just society."--Micah Andrew's Bookshelf, Midwest Book Review
"The great advantage of this book is that it provides Chatfield's firsthand account of so many of the key farmworker movement events. . . . LeRoy Chatfield's remarkable life deserved a written accounting."--Randy Shaw, American Catholic Studies
"To Serve the People is a stirring memoir that spans Chatfield's more than fifty years spent as a California labor and community organizer for the farmworker movement and later for the homeless."-- Roberto R. Calderón, author of Mexican Coal Mining Labor in Texas and Coahuila, 1880-1930
"Jorge Mariscal's collaboration with LeRoy Chatfield, a close confidant of Cesar Chavez and a longtime activist on behalf of the homeless, expands our understanding of the impact and legacy of social movements on diverse populations."--Irene Vásquez, coauthor of Making Aztlán: Ideology and Culture of the Chicana and Chicano Movement, 1966-1977
Part One. With the Christian Brothers
One. From Colusa
Two. Boarding School, 1948
Three. LeRoy, Merry Christmas!
Four. Observe, Judge, Act
Five. Are You Democrat or Republican?
Six. My Journal: Mexico City (Excerpts)
Part Two. With the Farmworkers
Seven. Bakersfield to Boston to Delano, 1963
Eight. Brother Gilbert's Appeal Letter, 1965
Nine. The Delano Grape Strike
Ten. Farmworker Volunteers
Eleven. Stop the Grapes
Twelve. Pushing the Buttons
Thirteen. Strike Violence vs. Nonviolence
Fourteen. The Fast
Fifteen. Kern County Courthouse Cathedral
Seventeen. On Movement Leaders
Eighteen. My Journal: Delano (Excerpts)
Nineteen. Letter from Delano (with Growers' Response)
Twenty. La Paz
Twenty-One. Jerry Brown Says, "I'm not God!"
Twenty-Two. Taking the Blame
Twenty-Three. Legislation vs. Movement
Twenty-Four. Eulogy for Cesar
Twenty-Five. My Prophecy, 1993
Twenty-Six. Helen Chavez--A Tribute
Twenty-Seven. The Organizer
Part Three. With the Homeless
Twenty-Eight. What Is the Answer?
Twenty-Nine. Guests, Not Clients
Thirty. Clean and Sober
Thirty-Two. A Public Fast
Thirty-Three. There is No OK Place to Be
Thirty-Four. A Bird in the Hand
Thirty-Five. Farmworker Movement Documentation Project
Thirty-Six. Management Maxims
Afterword. Cesar Chavez, 1927-1993: Twenty-Five Years and Counting