Written by Rachel Atkins
Living Voices | 600 North 36th Street, Suite 221, Seattle WA 98103 | 206-328-0798 FAX 206-328-4626 | livingvoices@livingvoices.org
In the late 1960's a new
movement changed the lives
of Latin American farm
workers who fought for civil
rights, battled racism and
indecent working conditions.
Experience this chapter of
American history as one
young woman balances the
demands of her family and
culture and fights to see her
people free of poverty.

Recommended Age:
5th Grade through


US History
Latino History
Multi Cultural
Creative Writing
Theatre / Drama
Media /
Television - Film

La Causa is the story of Marta Hernandez, the daughter of Mexican American migrant
workers, and her life changing involvement in the Farm workers Movement led by Cesar
Chavez in the 1960's and 70's.

We learn that Marta's has spent her life migrating from town to town with her family to work
in the fields where they pick whatever is in season. Marta's father came from Texas where
his family lost their farm to the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Marta's mother
immigrated to America from Mexico with her family when she was a child.

Marta and her twin brother Ruben attend school in whatever town they are working in. They
are usually scolded for speaking Spanish and often teased by the other kids for their work
cloths and their ethnicity.

After Marta Ruben and her father are accidentally sprayed by a crop duster her father
decides to become involved in the farm workers movement. Marta's father takes the children
with him as he goes from door to door trying to get Latinos to register to vote. Marta and
Ruben working with their father and when he becomes too ill to continue they are happy to
take his place.

Marta and Ruben become in involved in numerous strikes and marches. Cesar creates the
Farm Worker's newspaper, El Malcriado. Marta, eager to become a reporter signs up to work
on the paper even though she face resistance from the men at the office. She begins to
write about what she sees while involved in the movement.

Marta witnesses the march Sacramento, Cesar's fast, and violence on the picket lines. When
growers try to get around Union contracts by selling grapes under false labels, Cesar calls for
a nationwide boycott. Marta travels to Philadelphia where she helps organize boycotts of
grocery stores selling grapes. When pickets don't work she and her fellow strikers hold a fast
to draw attention to the problems of the farm workers and gather support for the boycott.

The boycott is a success. However, Marta's father, suffering from years of exposure to
deadly pesticides is close to death. She returns in order to be there for her father when he
dies. Soon after, The United Farm workers sign contracts with the biggest grape producers,
ending the boycott. Marta considers that though they have come a long way, it will still be a
hard fight to maintain the rights won by the movement. She promises to write about it and
continue her career as a journalist.
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