Dolores Huerta, the iconic civil rights activist who co-founded United Farm Workers of America in 1962 with Cesar Chavez, officially endorsed Hillary Clinton yesterday, saying she would rather have a woman in the White House than a Latino Republican.
“Some of those candidates who are Latinos in reality don’t represent the values of the Latino community, who for the most part are working people,” Huerta told Fox News Latino.”They are against their aspirations.”
Huerta has long-used Twitter to broadcast her strong support of progressive policies aimed at making the Latino community stronger in the U.S. Here are some of her most rallying tweets.
Increasing Minimum Wage
We have to look at economics. Our minimum wage should be over $20 an hr. CEO's are getting millions for 1 year of work. #LatinoHeritage
One quick Google search of ‘Joe Biden’ and ‘Latino’ shows that the former VP – who is running for president this year – has a serious issue with the Latino vote. There is story after story about his lack of support among the Latinx community and suggestions on what he needs to do if he wants the community’s vote – which he’ll need if he wants to win in November.
Recently, however, the tide may be shifting as several prominent Latino advocacy organizations have lined up to support Biden in his campaign for the presidency. This week another prominent Latina voice has added her name to the growing list of advocates showing up to support Biden in 2020.
Labor and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta endorsed Joe Biden for president, giving him the backing of one of the nation’s most prominent Latina leaders.
Dolores Huerta, the labor and civil rights leader who co-founded what eventually became the United Farm Workers union, endorsed Joe Biden for president on Friday.
Huerta, who is based in Bakersfield and is one of the nation’s most prominent Latino activists, offered her support on International Workers Day and as Biden’s campaign seeks to improve support among Latino voters. She said on Friday that Biden has been a “staunch advocate for labor” and has prioritized Latinos.
In a statement, the activist added, “At a time when the current White House has used fear mongering and racist rhetoric towards Latinos, Joe has made it clear that he will fight to protect and advance our community.”
Huerta’s new endorsement is a change from recent quotes about the former VP and illustrates just how important it is to defeat Trump in November.
In her endorsement, Huerta said she promised to do everything “humanly possible” to get Joe Biden elected come November, changing what had been her record during the campaign up to this point.
In fact, just a few months ago, Huerta had endorsed Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) for president and had criticized Biden for his lack of concrete answers about the needs of Latinos across the country. She even accused him of “talking just like the Republicans.”
With her endorsement of Biden, Huerta is making one thing very clear: We have to get rid of President Donald Trump, whatever it takes.
However, Biden still has a serious issue with Latino voters – will this endorsement really matter?
Just a couple of months ago Biden’s campaign was on life support. He was barely polling at all in several key states. That all changed when he won the South Carolina primary with the help of the state’s large African-American population.
Despite his subsequent wins across the country, Biden continued to trail Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), his main rival for the nomination, among Latinos for much of the primary. Biden’s campaign attributed the gap to a lack of financial resources that made it difficult to reach voters, but the former vice president also faced protests over the Obama administration’s deportation of nearly 3 million immigrants who were in the country illegally.
At a July 31 Democratic debate, Biden also found himself at odds with rival candidates who said crossing the border without permission should be a civil violation, not a criminal act. “If you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent back. It’s a crime,” Biden said.
But Latino support for the former VP seems to be increasing as the November election fast approaches.
In the weeks since Sanders suspended his campaign, Latino groups — including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ BOLD PAC and Voto Latino, a voter registration group founded in 2004 — have started to coalesce around Biden.
María Teresa Kumar, Voto Latino’s president and chief executive, told the LA Times that the group decided to back Biden with its first-ever endorsement after he sent a 22-page document answering questions on his positions on student debt, the environment, immigration, criminal justice reform and the modernization of electoral systems.
The group is now talking to his campaign about how to address the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the Latino community. “We want him to think boldly, because it’s the time for that leadership to help get our country out of where we are,” Kumar said.
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Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez are often considered the leaders in the farmworkers rights movement. The two have done a lot to better the lives of those working in the fields, but a new documentary is highlighting a forgotten hero in the farmworkers rights movement. “Adios Amor” is highlighting the work of Maria Moreno, who fought for their rights before Huerta and Chavez continued her work.
Before Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, there was Maria Moreno, the first female farmworker to lead a union.
Adiós Amor—The Search for Maria Moreno, is a feature film that examines the life and death of the obscure labor leader. Moreno was a migrant mother who sacrificed everything but her twelve kids in the pursuit of justice for farmworkers. During the late ’50s and ’60s, Moreno’s work led poor agricultural workers into a movement that would later capture the heart of the nation.
The discovery of forgotten photographs taken more than fifty years ago sparked the search for an unsung hero. A migrant mother haunted by a personal tragedy who rolled up her sleeves, collected signatures, and electrified audiences with her gift for public speaking for a cause she believed in.
Moreno was the first female farmworker in America to be hired as a union organizer. She was elected by her fellow Mexican American, Filipino, Black and Okie farmworkers to represent them. Her charisma attracted crowds, but it also got her into trouble with her labor bosses who fired her for being so outspoken.
The film’s director and producer Laurie Coyle found photos of Moreno tucked away in an archive.
Were it not for the Maverick photographers and journalists who captured Maria’s legacy, her story might have been lost. Coyle has said that the idea for the project began after she found the images captured by late farmworker photographer George Ballis. The photos depict Moreno speaking in front of crowds and meeting with workers in the fields of California, racing to events with her children and husband.
“She had this piercing gaze and always seemed to be surrounded by children,” Coyle told Shoot Online. “I couldn’t help but be captivated.”
Coyle began researching about Moreno. But the whereabouts of the activist later in life remains a mystery. The search for Moreno guides the documentary, where characters fade in and out like ghosts. From California’s Great Central Valley to the Arizona desert and U.S.-Mexico border, the journey tells Moreno’s story with passion and humor. The director soon discovered radio journalist Ernest Lowe, who had followed Moreno during her days as a union leader and had also been enchanted by her charisma.
Moreno and her family were traveling farmworkers following the crops.
Born to a Mexican immigrant father and Mescalero Apache mother, in Karnes City, Texas; Moreno and her family were nomadic farmworkers for years. Following the crops, their travels took them to Utah, California, Arizona, and Texas.
In April 1958, Moreno started her union activism following a flood that pushed many workers into starvation. Coyle found that one of her sons went blind temporarily due to extreme hunger. “How do you think that I feel … seeing my son blind only because we don’t got nothing to eat?” Moreno said in one passionate speech. “(Meanwhile), some other tables are full and wasting food.”
In a time of unprecedented abundance, farmworkers lived in dire poverty, and Maria Moreno set out to change that.
A deeply human drama is brought to the viewers’ attention, Mexican-American farmworkers living in dire poverty at a time of unprecedented abundance. An abundance sustained by impoverished peoples’ faith, family values, and working-class culture.
She gained support from Oklahoma migrants, Filipino American workers, and Latino pickers, and was active in the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, a union that was sponsored by the AFL-CIO.
“It was so unusual for a woman like her back then to be in this position,” Coyle told Shoot Online. “The first time I understood that she was somebody different was when she went to (University of California,) Berkeley,” Martha Moreno Dominguez, her daughter, said in the film. “I realized who my mother really was … I said, wow, you know. Here’s my mother, a second-grade education doing this.”
Eventually, Moreno was forced out of the union and left California to practice her faith.
Eventually, in 1962, Moreno was forced out of the fight due to jealousy and disagreements within the union. Documents show an AFL-CIO official accused her of misspending and she was forced to step down from leadership.
“She wasn’t afraid to say whatever she had to say,” Gilbert Padilla, co-founder for the United Farm Workers, told Shoot Online. “I assume that’s why they got rid of her.”
Coyle’s research found that when Cesar Chavez began to form his own farmworkers union, he purposely kept Moreno out of it, seeing her as a “big mouth”, and a possible rival.
Moreno’s children say she left California for a remote part of the Arizona desert, 100 miles west of Phoenix, where she asked God for guidance. Later in her life, Moreno became a Pentecostal minister along the US-Mexico border in San Luis, Arizona. She sought to transform society one soul at a time, instead of focusing on systemic change. Maria Moreno died in 1989, largely forgotten.
Watch the trailer below.
The film is set to premiere Friday, September 27 on most PBS stations.