Today is Cesar Chavez Day. And it could be an opportunity for Rosario Dawson to signal healing beginning with an apology to Dolores Huerta who worked side by side with Chavez. On March 28, 2016, I wrote about how Puerto Ricans Ought To Be Careful Attacking Chicana Mexican American Heroes like Dolores Huerta in light of scathing open letters and negative view points against our hero. Chavez was a strong union leader and labor organizer dedicating his life to improving treatment, pay and working conditions for farm workers. In 1962 Cesar founded the National Farm Workers Association, later to become the United Farm Workers - the UFW and was joined by Dolores Huerta and the union was born.
An apology by Dawson to Huerta would be a sign of respect and a signal towards healing if she does so.
Dawson could have picked up the phone to call Dolores Huerta regarding differences in political opinions, but instead she chose to be used as a tool for the Bernie Sanders campaign in writing an open scathing letter. For the record, Dolores supports Secretary Hillary Clinton, but so does Rep. Luis Gutierrez from Chicago, IL. Gutierrez who also wrote an open letter to support Hillary, yet, received no open criticism from Dawson.
In 2014, Rosario chose to play Dolores Huerta in a Cesar Chavez movie. The Cesar Chavez movie is a biography of the civil-rights activist and labor organizer Cesar Chavez, and it highlighted Dolores’ association in working with him, too. But playing Dolores in a movie should not entitle Rosario to wag her finger against our Civil Rights Chicana hero, and since she was open about her criticism toward Dolores, she should expect open criticism in return. The same sentiment goes for Latino Rebels who penned a story titled: “Dolores is Wrong.”
Though Mexican Americans represent the lion share of the entire Hispanic population pie, we continue to fight for legal immigration reform for all ethnic groups and backgrounds who do not receive automatic citizenship or privileged amnesty the Puerto Ricans and Cubans currently receive. Rosario should understand why hardcore and staunch advocates of legal immigration reform cannot forgive Bernie Sanders “nay” vote when he voted against reform in 2007 because millions of us were marching in support of it. Bernie also voted to protect the minuteman vigilantes. 3 years later a young Mexican American girl was killed by a minuteman murderer in the State of Arizona – the state Cesar Chavez was born. Though Bernie voted in support of a stricter immigration policy in 2013, I believe he reversed his opinion later on because he knew he needed the Latino / Hispanic vote and his continued record of anti-immigration would destroy his chances as a formidable Democratic candidate.
Bottom line: Bernie Sanders’ previous anti-immigration record where he sided numerous times with the Republicans who were against a much needed reform (under the clearly broken immigration system we experience today) would have given the Republican Party fuel or fodder to point out Bernie’s immigration record. And if a voter is inclined to forgive Bernie for his legal immigration reform sins in the past, then Republicans would ask for that same forgiveness from Hispanic or Latino voters. According to Think Progress, “Sanders’ position on immigration has been called “complicated” and he has been criticized by immigration activists for supporting the idea that immigrants coming to the U.S. are taking jobs and hurting the economy, a theory that has been proven incorrect.”
FOX News Latino states:
After appearing in "Chavez," which opens Friday, Dawson said she was "very much encouraged" to produce a story about Huerta. "I did so much research about her and it was just impossible — a lot of the stuff that we filmed didn't even make it into the cut," she said.
Starring Michael Peña in the title role and America Ferrera as his wife, Helen, "Cesar Chavez" follows the Chicano activist as he builds the United Farm Workers union and eventually forces growers to sign contracts to better the working conditions of mostly Latino field laborers.
Though it appears Dawson is encouraged to produce a story about Dolores Huerta, she will be met with fierce opposition in light of her scathing open letter against our heroine. Chicana Mexican Americans instead want a genuine actress to play the role of Dolores that embraces a true respect and reverence of her ... but it begins with an apology from Rosario to allow healing to begin. We would like to see healing begin this Cesar Chavez Day.
"Chavez left a legacy as an educator, environmentalist, and a civil rights leader. And his cause lives on. As farmworkers and laborers across America continue to struggle for fair treatment and fair wages, we find strength in what Cesar Chavez accomplished so many years ago. And we should honor him for what he's taught us about making America a stronger, more just, and more prosperous nation. That's why I support the call to make Cesar Chavez's birthday a national holiday. It's time to recognize the contributions of this American icon to the ongoing efforts to perfect our union." – President Barack Obama, March 31, 2008