This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California.

How Chicanos Por La Causa helped me when I was 19, Phoenix, Arizona

I moved to Phoenix when I was 19 because I wanted to get away from Minneapolis, and I was working for a company that had an office in Phoenix, so they transferred me. So I had a job the day I arrived. I lived cheaply, and although it didn't pay much, and the hours were spotty, it kept me alive. And then the hours got even less, and I was in trouble. I was alone, and I needed to find work.

When I mention that, among other places, I used the job services at Chicanos Por La Causa, it puzzles many people, because I'm just a white guy. Most of the people that I know don't understand how all of this works. If you understand, that's great, if not, I'll see if I can explain, by starting with the Civil Rights Movements of the 1960s.

I was a kid in the 1960s, and I was paying attention to the winds of change that were blowing all over the world, including the United States. The music was about the Age of Aquarius, with harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding. I grew up reading Mad Magazine, which helped me to understand the horrors and hypocrisy of the world, and to think for myself, resisting what many people insisted was perfectly normal, the "status quo". I learned about apartheid in school, and still remember the teacher helping us pronounce it as "apart-hate".

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The Civil Rights Movement was about equality. And that meant equality for everyone, whatever their gender, whatever their race. It didn't mean shifting rights from one group to another, it meant that everyone, for the first time in the history of the United States, would begin to be treated equally under the law. If you lived through that time, you know. If you're puzzled about it, it's because so many people have misunderstood what "equal rights" means. Chicanos Por La Causa understood, and they still do.

Maybe it's because the laws were still fairly new that I knew them so well. The new laws prohibited discrimination. That meant that no one could be refused service based on their gender or race. It protected everyone, and that included me. When I went to use the job services at Chicanos Por La Causa, the people there knew, too. They never hesitated to help me. I was a struggling young man who needed help, and they didn't turn me away because of the color of my skin.

Thank you, Chicanos Por La Causa!

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