Virgen de Guadalupe / Our Lady of Guadalupe

Candles, mosaics, paintings, and banners all honor this image of Mary as she appeared in 1531 to Juan Diego, a poor Aztec convert to Catholicism. His tilma, or cloak, on which the image suddenly appeared, is preserved in Mexico City. That the vision came to a simple peasant makes the Virgen de Guadalupe a symbol of care and compassion for ordinary believers.

Farm workers, many of Mexican descent, tend crops that are the mainstay of the Yakima Valley economy. In 1962, César Chavez, a California farm worker and labor organizer, called the first convention of the National Farm Worker’s Association, a forerunner of the United Farm Workers. The UFW championed agricultural laborers’ rights to fair pay and safe working conditions. Speaking of the UFW symbol of a black eagle on a red ground, Chavez said, “A symbol is an important thing. That is why we chose an Aztec eagle. It gives pride… When people see it they know it means dignity.”

Ideas and materials provided by:

Bernal Baca, Yakima Valley Community College, Roxanne Baca,

Ricardo Garcia, Director, Radio La Cadena, Ninfa R. Gutiurrez, Jim Jaime,

Juan Orozco, City Councillor, Wapato, Juan Ozuna, Alex Santianes