The Democratic Nevada caucus was a shit-show. What should have been the first display of Latino political power during this election cycle has instead resulted in Dolores Huerta, one of most recognized Latino civil rights leaders, likely tarnishing her legacy by making what now appears to be baseless and racially charged accusations against Bernie Sanders supporters.
Here is the comment that sent the Latino community into a tailspin.
Huerta claims that Bernie supporters allegedly chanted “English only” at her when she offered to provide a Spanish translation for caucus procedure.
She even tweeted about the incident on her not-always-active Twitter page.
— Dolores Huerta (@DoloresHuerta) February 20, 2016
Latinos were quick to rush to Huerta’s side like:
Because it doesn’t matter who you are, no one messes with Dolores Huerta…NO ONE.
There was an outpour of support for the civil rights legend on social media, which included.
Harrah's casino site- Bernie supporters chant "English-only" to stop civil rights leader @DoloresHuerta from providing Spanish translation.
— America Ferrera (@AmericaFerrera) February 20, 2016
We kind of blindly supported her because she is Dolores F**king Huerta.
And we were ready to fight over it.
If Dolores Huerta confirms it, I take her at her word.
But I still want footage of those "English-only" surrogates for shaming/scrutiny.
— Falstaff (@FollowIntoDark) February 20, 2016
But EVERYTHING changed when video of the event was released and no one heard “English only” being chanted.
— Carolyn Breedlove (@elumos) February 22, 2016
Instead, you could hear people calling for a neutral translator with no ties to either campaign.
And people who were at the event started fighting back claiming that Huerta’s story was false.
.@AmericaFerrera I was there. Nobody frm Bernie's side said English only. Moderator did when no neutral translator was found@DoloresHuerta
— Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) February 21, 2016
You might be thinking, “Why didn’t they just let her translate?” Because it would have been against the rules, that’s why.
Instead of retracting her comments, Huerta has doubled down, even going so far as to tell a Univision reporter that the Bernie Sanders campaign doesn’t respect the Latino community.
La polémica del día. Dolores Huerta me da su versión. Asegura que seguidores de Sanders no la dejaron hablar español pic.twitter.com/80fK9AHUY1
— Fernando Peinado (@FernandoPeinado) February 21, 2016
The whole story has us feeling like this:
Dolores Huerta has done so much for Latinos — no one can take that away from her — but this controversy hurts more than it helps.
It’s very clear that Huerta is an ardent Clinton supporter.
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) February 22, 2016
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Dolores Huerta being all in on Hillary. What we’re not down with is her employing dog whistle politics to discredit her opponent. Claiming that Bernie supporters didn’t want her to speak Spanish is suggesting that they were trying to suppress her for being Latina.
But she doesn’t speak for all Latinos, and people are allowed to disagree with her. This is a good thing. It’s what democracy is all about.
— Dolores Huerta (@DoloresHuerta) April 20, 2015
This kind of mudslinging doesn’t benefit anyone, least of all Latinos. Huerta should focus on getting people to vote regardless of who they support. Causing this type of drama is counterintuitive and is straight up not a good look for the civil rights advocate. Let’s get back to motivating young Latinos to use their voices to create change.