Dolores Huerta Opens Up About DACA & Intersectional Feminism

Dolores Huerta is an icon of the civil rights movement. As co-founder of the United Farm Workers union, she helped to bring the plight of the farmworkers into the national spotlight and secured incredibly important and fundamental human rights for them, such as bathroom and water breaks, and the cessation of spraying toxic chemicals and pesticides while they were working the fields. Her work in support of immigrants, for racial justice, and gender equality can not be overstated, yet so many people have no idea who she is. Well, that’s about to change with a new, in-depth documentary film executive produced by Carlos Santana and directed by Peter Bratt that is hitting theaters right now.

Dolores is an incredible film that will teach you about a woman you probably thought you knew. Her sacrifices and the magnitude of her contributions to the more just society we live in today have been so significant and it’s finally all on film for the world to see. We got a chance to sit down and chat with the legendary activist and picked her brain on DACA and intersectional feminism. Since DACA is such a hot button topic right now it was incredibly interesting to get her perspective, which was refreshingly optimistic. Her first tip: Never ever give up! Coming from a lifelong activist who is well into her 80s and still fighting the good fight, it’s hard to take those words lightly.

“Number one we should thank the DACA activists for the heroic courage that they’ve had over the years starting from when the fought for DACA in the first place and the leadership that they’ve shown since then. The main thing is that they have to keep on. They cannot quit. They can’t despair. They cannot get cynical – you have got to fight!” Huerta insisted.  “This is it. And you know what? We’re going to win. I just feel it in my heart.”

At the Delano Strike in 1966. Photo by Jon Lewis

But Huerta has more than just a hunch that the DACA recipients will persevere. The bill has overwhelming support from the American public, but she is a bit wary of what President Trump’s end game is in all of this. “I feel like they might want to use DACA as a bargaining chip because there is such huge support in the public, when you have 80% of the American public supporting the students, what is their strategy?”

Still she has faith that the states fighting against the current decision by the administration to end DACA are on solid footing. The top legal officials of 15 states, including D.C. have sued the Trump administration for violation of the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution by discriminating against DREAMers of Mexican origin, who make up 78 percent of DACA recipients. “We know that the A.G. Schneiderman of NY is taking this whole issue to court, hoping to prove his case by using Trump’s own words against Mexicans … they feel they have a civil rights case because you cannot discriminate against a group or a class of people.”

Huerta has always been on the right side of history, but there was one struggle that she hesitated in joining and one label she originally rejected: Feminist. Not because she didn’t not believe in equality for woman, but because she struggled mightily with the notion of abortion. “We, people of color, have been the victims of genocide for so many years so when we think of abortion it’s ‘No, no, no! We want more of us, not less of us here in this country,'” she explains. “Personally, I had to wrestle with that issue myself, but then finally understood that it’s about a woman’s body, and a woman’s right to choose, a woman being able to control her own body and her own life.”

Now she’s a whole-hearted supporter of feminism and feminist causes and says: “I think all women of color have got to understand that we can be, and should be, feminists.”

We could not agree more Dolores. Si se puede!

 

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