Sí se puede

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Sí, se puede (Spanish for "Yes, it is possible" or, roughly, "Yes, one can";[1] pronounced [ˈsi se ˈpwe.ðe]) is the motto of the United Farm Workers. In 1972, during Cesar Chavez's 25-day fast in Phoenix, Arizona, UFW's co-founder, Dolores Huerta, came up with the slogan.[2][1]

The phrase has been widely adopted by other labor unions and civil rights organizations and drew widespread political and media attention as a rallying cry during the U.S. immigration reform protests, and was also used in the 2002 Disney film Gotta Kick It Up![3][4]

The saying Sí Se Puede has long been a UFW guiding principle that has served to inspire accomplishment of goals even in what at times may seem insurmountable situations. Sí Se Puede is a federally Registered Trademark of the UFW so the UFW can maintain the original meaning of this saying.

English translation[edit]

Sí se puede is usually translated in English as "It can be done", or "Yes you can".[5] The more literal translation that the United Farm Workers uses is "Yes, it can be done!"[6][7]

Use of the slogan by the Obama campaign in Austin, Texas. Translated, it reads, "Yes we can, Texas!"

President Barack Obama adopted the English version "Yes, we can!" first during the 2004 Illinois Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate,[8] and it became a slogan of his 2008 presidential campaign. "Yes, we can!" was the theme of Sen. Obama's speech following his second-place finish in the 2008 New Hampshire primary.[9] Following the speech Obama was endorsed by the Culinary Workers Union in the Nevada Democratic Caucus,[10] though it is important to note that news of the endorsement had already been circulating prior to this speech.[11] The phrase was also used in the song "Yes We Can", which was performed by numerous celebrities in support of Obama.[12] Another video created in support of Obama's 2008 presidential bid, entitled Sí Se Puede Cambiar, written and performed by Andres Useche and directed by Eric Byler, was released on YouTube on February 22, 2008.[original research?]

During the Israeli legislative election campaign of 2009, Shas used a Hebrew language version of the slogan: "כן. אנחנו יכולים" (ken, anakhnu yekholim).[13]

AeroMexico's trademark application[edit]

After AeroMexico, a Mexican airline, had filed a trademark application for "Sí se puede" with the US Trademark Office, lawyers for the United Farm Workers defended the phrase as the intellectual property of the UFW. After litigation, AeroMexico agreed not to use the phrase and abandoned its trademark application.[1] "Yes, We Can" was also used as a slogan by Air Canada commercials in the 1980s. "And since Canada is our home, We can show you a Canada you've never known Yes we can, Air Canada, yes—we—can!".[original research?]

Further reading[edit]

  • ¡SI, SE PUEDE! / YES, WE CAN! Janitor Strike in L.A., by Diana Cohn, illustrated by Francisco Delgado, Cinco Puntos Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-938317-66-1[14]
  • Sí se puede : el movimiento de los hispanos que cambiará a Estados Unidos by Sanjuana Martínez by San Juana Martinez Mexico, D.F. : Grijalbo, 2006 Spanish ISBN 978-0-307-38359-4


  1. ^ a b c Arturo S. Rodriguez (1998-03-31). "Statement from Arturo S. Rodriguez, President, United Farm Workers of America, Celebrating Cesar Chavez's Birthday 3/31/98-La Paz, Keene, Calif". Press Releases. United Farm Workers. Retrieved 2006-12-09. 
  2. ^ "Sí Se Puede". Makers. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  3. ^ (CBS/AP) (April 11, 2006). ""¡Si, Se Puede!" Say Immigrants Rallies In Dozens Of Cities Compared By Some To Civil Rights Campaigns". CBS NEWS / The Associated Press. CBS Broadcasting Inc. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  4. ^ The earth is shaking as immigrants rise up around the country with their voices singing "Sí se puede"--Yes, we can. This uprising is in the best tradition of the American Dream and the civil rights struggle for freedom. Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. (August 13, 2006). ""Sí Se Puede" Means "We Shall Overcome"". Motion Magazine. 
  5. ^
    Demonstrators for "Alternativa Sí se puede por Tenerife" carrying "Sí se puede" signs

    For example, the Spanish political organization Alternativa Sí se puede por Tenerife translates its name as "Alternative, Yes You Can for Tenerife".[1]

  6. ^ The first known use of "Yes we can" in the United States occurred in the spring of 1974 when it was used by Dave Cash of the Philadelphia Phillies (Major League Baseball)as a rallying cry for the team.LeRoy Chatfield; et al. (UFW volunteers). "UFW GLOSSARY Farmworker Movement Terminology". Farmworker Movement Documentation Project. Si Se Puede Press. Retrieved 2006-12-09. 
  7. ^ Sí, se puede has become a rallying cry at many pro-immigration events across the United States in past few days...just what does se puede mean? Out of context, I'd probably translate it loosely as "it can be done." But context matters, and as part of a group chant the translation of "yes, we can" is entirely appropriate. Se puede is a phrase of empowerment (puede is a close cousin of el poder, a noun meaning "power"), and "we can" conveys that thought well.Gerald Erichsen (April 11, 2006). "Does 'Sí, se puede' mean 'Yes, we can'?". Gerald's Spanish Language Blog. spanish.about.com. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  8. ^ CHICAGO, IL – CROWD: Yes we can! Yes we can! ELIZABETH BRACKETT: The crowd in the Chicago hotel ballroom was fired up last March. Their candidate, Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama, had pulled in a remarkable 53 percent of the vote in a seven-way race for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate. Elizabeth Brackett (July 27, 2004). "Rising Star". PBS. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  9. ^ NASHUA, N.H. – Sen. Barack Obama got a new campaign slogan Tuesday night when he lost the New Hampshire primary here in an upset that surprised his staunch supporters but left them no less ready for a fight. "Yes, we can!" La Ganga, Maria L. (January 9, 2008). "Obama has new rallying cry: Yes, we can!". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  10. ^ When Barack Obama introduced a new refrain to his stump speech after losing the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, it was aimed specifically at a Nevada audience: Culinary Workers Local 226. “Yes, we can!” Obama told supporters, over and over, after his narrow loss to Hillary Clinton. Although it fit with the Illinois senator’s message of hope, Culinary workers in Las Vegas recognized it as the labor slogan popularized by United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez. Indeed, the phrase, in Spanish, is plastered all over the walls of the union’s headquarters here. Mishak, Michael (January 12, 2008). "Obama's 'Yes, we can' echoes Culinary's". Las Vegas Sun. 
  11. ^ Smith, Ben (January 8, 2008). "Culinary workers endorsing tomorrow". Politico. 
  12. ^ Yes We Can - Barack Obama Music Video on YouTube
  13. ^ Eli Yishai (December 15, 2008). "Shas Facebook page". Shas Facebook page. facebook.com. Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  14. ^ Bilingual Children's book about the successful Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) “Justice for Janitors” strike in Los Angeles in April 2000. Cohn, Diana; Francisco Delgado (September 1, 2002). ¡SI, SE PUEDE! / YES, WE CAN! Janitor Strike in L.A. Cinco Puntos Press. ISBN 978-0-938317-66-1. 

External links[edit]