meeting “La Maestra”

March 14, 2012

CSUMB World Theatre

i’d anxiously waited for the day to come for two weeks.  i still didn’t know the day before if i’d be able to go. THIS was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me.

i’d gotten sick the weekend before and i was still not strong.  Petey had already told me if i wasn’t strong enough i shouldn’t go.  how could one of my personal inspirations and a hero be so close and i wouldn’t be able to go?  i worked really hard at resting, eating well and looking healthy.  it was decided, yes it would be okay.  my over-protective husband gave his blessing.  we left, me, my daughter  Alicia Salazar and my grandaughter Chavelita. three generations, making history. i took some old grape boycott pins with me. the buttons were also history. i got them from cesar himself in late 1968 or early 1969 at east los angeles college in east LA. he came to the school to talk about the plight of farm workers and educate us on the grape boycott. i digress, that’s another story.

we arrived at the hall, i was beyond excited. i would have run into the place if i could have. walking to our seats was the hardest thing to do, act like an adult.  the woman is a rock star. she was introduced and out came this woman, small-framed, surrounded by spirits of “SI SE PUEDE.” you could feel it. i was so proud to be in her presence i couldn’t sit still.  she looked at us, smiled and started speaking. she spoke with such gentility, a peaceful calm that is contagious. she talked of the past and the future. there were times where i realized i was on my feet, applauding and cheering.

she quoted cornel west and of course, cesar. she did make it a point to remind us that “si se puede” was hers’ not cesars’.  we laughed with her and felt her melancholy.  when i looked around the hall, all eyes were on her. she had a never-ending smile and i wondered how this woman, almost 82 could speak non-stop for two hours. she did. she spoke of struggles, of family and of justice.  she spoke of love, la gente, victories and failures. she talked of her history, which sounded difficult, although she never indicated it was.  she reminded us of “the power of one.” she also stressed the importance of registering voters and voting in the upcoming election.

i’m sorry more people didn’t come out to see her speak. she held a q & a session after her speech and then picture-taking in the lobby. she never looked tired, stressed or exasperated. she was a simple joy, a diamond honed by the flames of adversity and struggles.  it my extreme pleasure to be there, thankful to be so blessed by the great spirit.

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One thought on “meeting “La Maestra”

  1. Nora, what a beautiful tribute you wrote, so passionate, so sincere. I sensed her inspiration through your writing of the event. For three generations of your family to have met her was a true blessing and a beautiful gift. Thank you for sharing your experience and for allowing us to sense her greatness through yours. God bless you and your family and keep you all safe, happy, and healthy. I love you, amiga! Viva Nican Tlaca!

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