My March With César by Marco E. López-Quezada
Marco E. López Quezada's compelling memoir takes us on a journey between many points in his life. We get a broader sense of the connections and movement between the United States' southwest and northern and central Mexico when people of conscience were fully waking up and formulating strategies to stand up to racial inequality and repression. The country had gone through a significant world war followed close behind by another conflict in the Pacific. At the same time, here at home, our country was gearing up for a substantial struggle around racial inequities and social injustice. This book looks into the life and formation of a Mexican-American boy who grows into a man during these unsettling but exciting times in our country's history.What makes this book an excellent read is a sharp juxtaposition between the old and the new. A world on a collision course between large numbers of people wanting change and those - who benefit from the way things are - wanting to keep it the same. López Quezada is born into a family steeped in the traditional values of hard work, commitment, and strong religious beliefs - who has held those values near and dear - and at the same time lives in a non-traditional configuration. While being raised in a traditional Catholic home, which included a strict catholic education, López Quezada, was raised by a single parent, which was considered unconventional. His mother, a brilliant and savvy businesswoman, also starts her own wildly successful business. A Mexican-American woman running her own business was also virtually unheard of at the time. This strong independent mother demanded from her children what she demanded from herself, hard work, dignity, being well-educated, and being involved members of the community.When the world was changing at breakneck speed, when a person could choose to go down so many distinct paths, López Quezada chose one that was both traditional and incorporated his family's values but was not easy. This decision put him front and center in a world that was demanding more than the status quo. One that said, Ya Basta! Or, enough is enough, with the injustices and inequalities. This choice would bring him into peril and conflicts and link him to one of the most charismatic civil rights leaders of our modern historical times.