Things That Matter

Dolores Huerta Has Some Words Of Advice For Young Activists Standing Up For Immigration Reform

Ever since she organized farm workers in the 1960s as they fought for better working conditions and fair wages, Dolores Huerta has been committed to fighting for civil rights. The 87-year-old is the focus of a documentary that gives audience members an intimate look at what it takes to devote your life to activism and fighting for those less fortunate. Huerta and the director of the documentary, Peter Bratt, sat down with mitú to talk about activism then and now and what people can do to fight a system they might not agree with today.

Director Peter Bratt is telling Huerta’s story through “Dolores,” a documentary covering her decades of activism.

#LosAngeles: @elgavachillo will join us at the 7:30pm screening SATURDAY at @landmarktheatres Nuart.

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Bratt, also a writer and producer on the documentary, thinks that Huerta’s story is more crucial now than ever. In the ’60s, even though many farm workers were undocumented and couldn’t speak English, Huerta was able to get them involved in the fight for their rights. Huerta organized farm workers through education and motivated them to see beyond the constraints that held them back.

“Nobody thought that was possible, but with organization, she was able to convince them that they could and I think a lot of people are discouraged right now with the current political climate,” Bratt says. “People are feeling, similarly, that their voice doesn’t count. As she says, a lot of us, we are educated, we are citizens, we do speak the language so all the more we can get organized and create change.”

Huerta credits the success of the farm workers movement to different groups coming together to fight for a common goal and exercising their right to vote.

Huerta remembers how civil rights groups — African-American groups, feminist groups, environmental groups, Puerto Rican groups, and labor rights groups — all came together to fight for the farm workers. But it wasn’t just through marches and demonstrations. Huerta says voting made a difference — something she believes contemporary activists should keep in mind.

“It’s wonderful that we’re marching and protesting but if people do not march to that ballot box, if we don’t elect and campaign for people who are progressive and going to represent us, then nothing is going to change,” Huerta says. “The policies that Trump is trying to roll back or policies that he’s enacting that are against the people are going to stay there. We’ve got to vote.”

Bratt says creating a coalition of civil groups led to Huerta’s success and will, in turn, lead to the success of immigration reform.

Bratt points out that the fight for farm workers began as a labor struggle then turned into a fight for racial justice. Once the farm companies used pesticides while the farm workers were on the field, it turned into an environmental issue. Huerta was even able to get the feminist movement involved as she fought to be a voice in a male-dominated community.

“The Dreamers, they need coalition support so I really hope that activists today move away from silo thinking and silo organizing because really all of those struggles are interconnected and we have to build coalitions,” Bratt says. “That’s the only way we’re going to get victories.

When asked about fighting back today, Huerta says, “I say vote a wall of resistance in the Congress.”

“A wall of representation. A wall of resistance,” Huerta says. “That way we not only change some of the changes that Trump is making but stop some of the other policies he is trying to pass.”

Huerta admits that the fight in the ’60s is very similar to the fight now but that’s how it’s always been.

We want you!!! Join people from all over the state who are coming to the Central Valley to turn out voters and wake this SLEEPING GIANT! Join us THIS WEEKEND* for voter registration and crucial civic engagement! Training and food will be provided. Saturday, 10/25/14 from 9am – 2pm and Sunday, 10/26/14 from 3:30pm – 8:30pm at DHF GOTV Office of Bakersfield, 1527 19th St, 2nd Floor, Bakersfield, CA 93301 OR Saturday, 10/25/14 from 9am – 2pm at the DHF GOTV Office of Arvin, 141 North A St, Suite J, Arvin, CA 93203 *Civic engagement opportunities also available during the week and next weekend. Please call (661) 322-3033 or email volunteer@doloreshuerta.org Or, SIGN UP HERE TO MAKE AN IMPACT http://fs30.formsite.com/dhfdevelopment/form1/index.html

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Huerta says that we have seen this kind of action before with Operation Wetback in the 1950s, which was a mass deportation attempt after World War II. Yet, despite all of the fighting and threats, the government inevitably circles back to amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

“They say that the more things seem different the more they stay the same and this fight for immigrant rights has been going on every 20 years for decades. At the end of it, we ultimately end up with an amnesty program,” Huerta says. She adds: “We are seeing that same scenario that is playing out. But the one thing we have is that our numbers are so much bigger now and we have more political emphasis now than we did back then.”

When the fight gets tough, Huerta stresses that activists have to keep the faith alive to make sure it all works out.

Executive producer Carlos Santana, Dolores Huerta and director Peter Bratt.

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“We see the Democrats in the Congress who are coming forward and putting in legislation for the Dreamers,” Huerta says. “If we can look down the road into the future, it’s going to happen. We are eventually going to get immigration reform. Not just for the Dreamers but or everybody else. But we know that we have to struggle and we have to keep that hope and the faith alive and know that we have to keep on going forward and keep organizing and just going.”

Bratt says those against Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Dream Act are on the wrong side of history.

#nyc #premiere of DOLORES with #peterbratt #doloreshuerta #carlossantana! #pbs #documentary #sisepuede

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“Striking DACA is a moral crisis,” Bratt says. “It reveals a moral crisis in America right now. The American people are good at heart and will do the right thing but sometimes they need a little help to see that.”

Huerta says DACA recipients need to make sure that their safety isn’t used to further harm the rest of the undocumented community.

“We can’t let our anger turn into violence or to hate,” Huerta says.

“We’re going to use that energy that we have and take that fear that we’re feeling right now and turn it into an energy to do something. As they say, when your adrenaline goes that you’re going to fight or you’re going to run. Well, we’re not going to run. We’re going to stand here and fight. There’s a lot of people behind them. This is a journey we’re all on.”

Learn more about Dolores Huerta’s tips on fighting injustice below.

Dolores Huerta shares 5 tips for fighting against Trump.

Dolores Huerta shares 5 tips for fighting against Trump.

Posted by We are mitú on Tuesday, September 19, 2017

And you can check out the trailer for the “Dolores” documentary here.


READ: This Chicano Photographer Told Us Why Cesar Chavez Has Left A Lasting Impression With Latinos

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VP Joe Biden Just Got A Major Endorsement From A Leading Latina Voice But Not Everyone Is Thrilled By It

Things That Matter

VP Joe Biden Just Got A Major Endorsement From A Leading Latina Voice But Not Everyone Is Thrilled By It

@DoloresHuerta / Twitter

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.

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival Will Be Digital And Free This Year

Entertainment

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival Will Be Digital And Free This Year

laliff_ / Instagram

If you are a film buff saddened by the fact that you can’t go to your favorite film festivals, fear not. The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) is going to be completely digital and free to anyone who wants to enjoy this year’s film roster.

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) is going to be free and online for everyone.

In-person participation at LALIFF has been canceled because of obvious reasons (COVID-19). However, the organizers wanted to make sure that everyone who wanted to enjoy the films could. Plus, the festival is a way for these small, independent filmmakers to get their names and projects out there. Being online opens it up to a lot more people to enjoy these films.

The festival, founded by Edward James Olmos, is a very important event for Latino films.

While COVID-19 is keeping people in their homes, LALIFF doesn’t want it to keep them away from enjoying these films. It is the 21st century and that offers filmmakers and organizers a new way to connect with their fans and cinephiles.

“We are living in unprecedented times and we must find unprecedented solutions to continue to support our Latino filmmakers and provide them with a platform to showcase their work,” Edward James Olmos, founder of LALIFF, said in a statement. “Working together with our filmmakers, musicians, partners and sponsors we will be able to celebrate our festival virtually to continue to showcase some of the most inspiring and thought-provoking Latino films of 2020 and share with cinephiles everywhere, from the safety of their homes.”

LALIFF is an integral part of highlighting and promoting Latino talent and their quick pivot to go online will give these artists more opportunity to shine.

The film festival organizers made news when they announced their virtual experience. LALIFF Connect is going to let everyone enjoy the 2020 films as well as the 2019 retrospective highlighting last year’s work. You can currently watch all of the 2019 films and shorts featured last year at LALIFF. The new films will be available from May 5 – 31.

“We are proud to advocate for Latinx artists and musicians, especially at a time where they have been hit the most and share their beautiful sounds. Be sure to dance in your living rooms and don’t worry about the door fee—LALIFF has you covered,” Managing Director of LALIFF, Alexis de la Rocha, said in a statement.

Now is a great time to watch some of the previous LALIFF features, like “Suicidrag.”

The short film is about a group of Mexican drag queens who are taking to the streets and clubs of Mexico to highlight the issues of gender stereotypes. The queens are showing the dangers those stereotypes cause when they are imposed on the consumer culture that controls so much in our societies.

They are also showing “I’ll See You Around.”

Director Daniel Pfeffer explores the complexities of a family when drugs and betrayal derail a relationship. In the film, one brother has to figure out how to salvage a relationship with his brother after he finds out his brother stole his laptop to buy drugs. This film is a tough reminder of the difficulties families must face.

READ: How To Keep Yourself Sane And Balanced While Self-Isolating And Working From Home