Hard Work

Leal’s Tire Shop on East Cesar Chavez St in Austin Texas

My friend Ben Briones who graduated from UT Austin recommended me to visit Leal’s Tire Shop located on East Cesar Chavez Street. I was excited to find murals featuring themes from what appears to be Mexico’s pre-Columbian heritage.

While visiting the shop, I met Armando Lara who is originally from Veracruz, Mexico. He works at the shop fixing flats and doing other maintenance work.

I asked for the name of the artist who painted the walls but people at the shop couldn’t recall his name.

Armando Lara works at a tire shop in Austin, TX.

Armando Lara works at Leal’s Tire Shop in Austin, TX. Photograph from 6/28/14

Leal's Tire Shop in Austin TX

Leal’s Tire Shop on East Cesar Chavez St in Austin, TX. Photographed on June 28, 2014.

Raul Martinez with Long Motors Located on Cesar Chavez St in Austin Texas

There’s a mural on the premises of Long Motors car dealership in Austin, Texas dedicated to the legacy of Cesar Chavez. The topics alluded in the mural include social justice, farm labor, and economic opportunity. The famous motto “si se puede” is bold and clear to motorists traveling east on Cesar Chavez Street. It sends the message that hard working, Mexican American residents can afford a car.

I interviewed sales manager Raul Martinez with Long Motors and he told me that the mural is attractive to many people. He has been working at Long Motors since 2005, which coincides with the year the mural was painted. Since then, he has watched people take photos and admire the painting.

Raul is from Leon, Guanajuato Mexico. His story is about hard work and dedication. Before being sales manager at Long Motors he worked at a restaurant serving food. Because of his customer service skills at the restaurant he was invited to sell cars by the owner of Long Motors. After three weeks at the job he was promoted to manager and has now (at the time of this writing) 8 years on the job. “Si se puede” he says “picando piedra (chipping rock)”

Raul Martinez with Long Motors on Cesar Chavez St in Austin

Raul Martinez, sales manager with Long Motors on East Cesar Chavez St in Austin, Texas. Photograph on June 28, 2014.

Raul Martinez with Long Motors on Cesar Chavez St in Austin

Raul Martinez, sales manager with Long Motors on East Cesar Chavez St in Austin, Texas. Photograph on June 28, 2014.

Francisco Martinez with United Farm Workers of America

During the 11th Annual Cesar Chavez March that took place in San Juan Texas, I met Francisco Martinez. He wore a United Farm Workers red shirt covered with Cesar Chavez pins. One pin reads “Until the Ink is Dry on the Contracts, Don’t buy grapes & Gallo.” It makes reference to the boycotts that were proposed by farm workers as a way to promote solidarity with their cause.

As a young man, Francisco marched with Cesar Chavez in California. On the same shirt covered with pins, he wore a badge that mentions the 1st Constitutional Convention that took place on September of 1973 in Fresno, California.

As a veteran of United Farm Workers, he recalls that the color blue should never be worn or used by sympathizers of the workers’ cause while participating in their events. “Never use it in a flag or in a shirt that has the symbol of the Union” he said. The reason for this is that people who opposed the workers’ cause would wear blue colored clothing during workers’ demonstrations.

Francisco Martinez Farm Worker

Francisco Martinez with UFW at the 11th Annual Cesar Chavez March in San Juan, Texas. March 29, 2014.

Francisco Martinez Farm Worker

Francisco Martinez with UFW at the 11th Annual Cesar Chavez March in San Juan, Texas. March 29, 2014.

Francisco Martinez Farm Worker

Francisco Martinez with UFW at the 11th Annual Cesar Chavez March in San Juan, Texas. March 29, 2014.