The Rights of Our Workers

By , Atascadero, CA

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”.  This quote can relate to how Chavez is encouraging people to speak up and join the fight for farmer’s rights. In his “Lessons from Martin Luther King Jr.” speech, Chavez uses rhetorical appeals to convince his audience to participate in the struggle for farm worker’s rights.
First, Chavez uses pathos to appeal to emotions of his audience. While speaking of Martin Luther King Jr. he states, “We must learn his lessons and put his views into practice, so that we may truly be free at last” (5). Using an allusion to Dr. King’s famous words can stir up emotions in readers and listeners who are familiar with his speech. Next while telling people why they must help he says, “for our children’s rights and for our very lives” (26). This gives his audience a sense of urgency and also brings innocent children in and makes readers feel bad for them.
In addition, Chavez uses logos to give reasoning and show why they should stop spraying pesticides. In his speech he states, “five-year study which determined that pesticides do not improve profits or produce more crops” (29). This is giving actual evidence one why pesticides are not necessary and should not be used. When speaking on the effects of pesticides he says, “children cancer is 800% above normal” (36). This quote is giving statistics on how harmful pesticides are and how they are effecting families.
Lastly Chavez uses ethos to show authority and why people should follow his direction and guidance. In his speech he says, “Dr. King reminded me that our struggle was his struggle too” (22). This quote is showing how just as Dr. King stood with him in his fight, they should stand with the farm workers and families affected. Later, he states, “Just as Dr. King was a disciple of Ghandi and Christ, we must now be Dr. King’s disciples” (24). This is telling his audience how great of a cause they are working for by comparing them to prior followers of causes.
With his speech, Chavez inspired many to join the fight, and helped farm workers live better lives. Overall, rhetorical devices were used efficiently in Chavez’s speech “Lessons from Martin Luther King Jr”. Even in today’s world, everyone could learn how to stand up for what they believe is right from Chavez and Dr. King.






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