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Because Mexicans have lived in close range to Americans for centuries, aspects of Mexican culture have become a normal aspect of American culture, especially in the Southwest Region of America including Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. With the Mexican diaspora into the United States, Mexican culture has become immersed into American culture more than ever. From fine art to food Mexican culture is celebrated throughout the United States, as a welcomed tradition that has lasted for centuries.
Franco Folini–Mural: Cesar Chavez, Che Guevara Mural, and Emiliano Zapata–Cesar Chavez Street—San Francisco, CA—http://www.flickr.com/photos/livenature/2617516042/
Amidst the struggle for Civil Rights for minorities of the 1960’s emerged the Chicano movement among the Mexican American youth. The movement materialized to push three main goals: land ownership, improved working conditions for Mexican farm workers, and education reforms.
Richie Diesterheft —http://www.flickr.com/photos/puroticorico/2378350911/sizes/m/in/photostream/
Not only was the Chicano movement successful in changing legislation, but also caused the materialization of a new form of art, known as Chicano art, that is popular in the United States today. Chicano art was created to propel political activism and cultural change. Chicano artists created paintings and murals on the sides of buildings in order to inspire Mexicans to stand up for their rights.
Francisco Garcia, Francisco Guerrero and Edgar Fernandez—http://www.flickr.com/photos/cedwardbrice/7201122902/
Today Chicano art is celebrated throughout the United States amongst all Americans as inspired art that is beautiful and has a strong and powerful message.
When Mexican immigrants moved into the United States via the diaspora, they brought along musical influences. Nortena music refers to traditional Mexican music that is popular in Mexico and played by mariachi bands. Tejano music, Mexican music most commonly heard in the United States, is a blend of Rock and Roll, Pop, Country, and R&B. Tejano music was popularized by Mexican American singers such as Selena Quintanilla-Perez, who is credited for popularizing Tejano music in the American culture, and Ritchie Valens, who popularized the song “La Bamba.”
Mexican musicians have also blended into the pop world, becoming famous for singing songs that mix English and Spanish to fast moving beats. Singers such as Santana and musicians such as Rodrigo and Gabriella have created a national phenomenon that celebrates traditional Mexican music with a modern flavor.
The United Farm Workers Union
According to Mario Compean, a Mexican American historian, until the 1960’s most Mexicans living in America were migrant farm workers. Mexican workers faced harsh working conditions, poor pay, and little respect. This was all changed with the emergence of the United Farm Workers Union in the 1960′s.
Gruenemann—Altar for Cesar Chavez—El Mercado, San Antonio—http://www.flickr.com/photos/gruenemann/286075719/
In 1962 Cesar Chavez, fed up of the poor working conditions, moved to California and began building the National Farm Workers Association. He drove up and down the Californian coast gaining as many members as possible. Over the next fifty years, the group has expanded to become United Farm Workers Union, and has been at the forefront of gaining new legislation that benefits not only Mexican migrant farmers but farmers of many nationalities. Some of the positive legislative acts that the United Farm Workers Union has successfully executed include the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act, Immigration reforms, increasing the minimum wage, and the Employee Free Choice Act.
2002 Board Meeting-Caliornia—by Lori Fernald Khamala/National Farm Worker Ministry—http://www.flickr.com/photos/nfwm/6012142218/sizes/m/in/photostream/
Today amongst the abundance of opportunity for Mexicans in America, many Mexicans, both legal and illegal citizens stay true to their agricultural roots as farmers and landscapers. Thanks to Cesar Chavez and his efforts to build the United Farm Workers Association, migrant farmers of all nationalities, especially Mexicans, face much better working conditions in the United States.
US Department of Labor—Labor Hall of Honor & the Cesar Chavez Memorial Auditorium—http://www.flickr.com/photos/usdol/6872271696/sizes/m/in/photostream/