Words of Cipriano Ferrel

Cipriano Ferrel was a co-founder of PCUN and was PCUN President from 1988 to 1992 and from April 1995 until his death. He also co-founded FHDC in 1991. Cipriano dedicated his entire life to the cause of unionizing famworkers as the only effective means to permanently improve the living and working conditions in farm labor and to give a voice to workers in their workplaces.


Cipriano F. in PCUN update

From PCUN Update……Issue #23, December, 1995

Editorial: “Winning the Struggle Without Him”

“His death has left us the most difficult task of all: to win the struggle without him.”

We first heard those words spoken not about Cipriano Ferrel, but by him. At PCUN’s memorial for César Chávez on May 2, 1993, Cipriano issued that call: to win the struggle without César. Today, we repeat those words and face that task: the most difficult one, which now seems much more so.

Even in so short a life, Cipriano left us enough vision, wisdom and example to last us the rest of our lifetimes, and to complete that difficult task. A vision of liberation, an example of living with dignity and self-respect, and wisdom about achieving them. Caring about the people in the movement, not just the issues. Struggling—and challenging others to struggle—with the hard questions. Having the courage to be a revolutionary—visualizing oneself and our society as we strive for it to be. And never being deterred from following one’s instincts about defending a fundamental principle, no matter how protracted the fight or how powerful the adversary.

Looking through dozens of photos of Cipriano, spanning nearly two decades, we noticed that most of them captured his most central roles in this organization and in this movement: communicating ideas, conveying hope, listening to the concerns and thoughts of others, and encouraging self-confidence.

For each of us in whom Cipriano left an indelible mark, we must decide how best to keep Cipriano’s spirit alive. What sacrifice can I make? What can I offer? What example can I set and who can I support to facilitate their contribution? We must take to heart, as Cipriano did, our responsibility to fulfill Che Guevara’s prediction that “other hands will take up the struggle.”

For the staff and board of PCUN, we find that Cipriano’s presence, which we sense every day, outweighs his absence, which we also feel daily, because we are resolved to take on that most difficult task. We know that we are not alone and that our ranks—the ranks of the committed—have grown during this tough time and will continue to grow.

 As Dolores Huerta first asked in 1972: “¿Se puede?”  

¡Si se puede!


Poem of Cipriano Ferrel

To my children, I leave a world of injustices;

To my parents, I leave my gratitude for their humanitarian teachings;

To my comrades in the struggle, I leave my principles;

To the struggle, I leave my ideas;

To my enemies, I leave my smile;

The ill will always have my love of life;

To the wise, I leave my ignorance;

To the oppressed, I entrust my hope for a new world;

To those who I have disrespected, I ask their pardon;

To each of my lovers, I leave a piece of my heart.

(Transcribed from a handwritten page, date and authorship unknown)