Brooke Oliver: Playing Dolores In Film Doesn't Entitle Rosario to Wag Finger At Dolores

Brooke Olive who knows both Dolores Huerta and Rosario Dawson chimes in on the scathing letter by Rosario in a public Facebook post.  She writes:

Again, w/o link that makes it hard to share: I have thought about how and whether to respond to Rosario's open letter to Dolores. I have met Rosario and her mom, and like them a lot and have deep respect for both of them. I also know, love, have traveled with and have the luck to have Dolores as a mentor and friend. I don't love the tone of this article. But it's a start. And I haven't talked to Dolores about what I'm saying here.

Dolores' legacy is hers to do with as she wishes. And not supporting Bernie Sanders in no real way diminishes it. Dolores has been in the streets and fields and electoral politics for 60 years, and has an honest disagreement, based on her deep experience, with Bernie's record and qualifications for president. She is also a loyal person, and Hillary has been there for farmworkers consistently for decades. That is significant and important.

Playing Dolores in a movie, with whatever sincere and diligent background research was done to get that right, does not entitle Rosario to wag her finger at Dolores.

I am saddened when anyone who has been an activist for a few years, maybe even a decade or two, and who has never been a full time organizer (as I was for 10 years and Dolores has been for over 60 years), takes it upon themselves to lecture someone who has given every day of 60+ years creating and fighting for social justice.

As the article says, when D started registering Latinos to vote, and when she stood in the fields of California, and hundreds of other times, her life and liberty were on the line. Celebrity does not give that right; it does impose a great responsibility, and I can read through the lines in the "Open Letter" that Rosario may well have thought she was taking that responsibility to show that not all Latinas are supporting Hillary.

Of course Dolores is not always right; she'd be the first to tell you that.

But how you approach an elder with disagreement is key. I've been know-it-all to Dolores in the past and am still so ashamed of myself. But I NEVER did it in public.

Isn't it hard enough for Latina leaders already, without a young courageous leader attacking an elder?

I'm so saddened that Rosario - head of Voto Latino - chose to publicly attack Dolores' integrity.

None of us has any idea what integrity means until we have walked in Dolores' shoes all those decades. I have worked and traveled with Dolores a lot and know just a little what hard decisions and choices she must make daily, to go where called, to work a room until 1 am and then be back up for a 5 am interview, then to give diplomas and congratulations to the indigenous leaders -- Spanish speaking immigrants -- graduating from her organizer institute in the Central Valley, to miss family events, to take risks, and then attend sunrise mass. No one has more integrity and more genuine sense of service than Dolores. No one.

And not all of Rosario's so-called "facts" are facts... Note for example that while the immigration bills Bernie voted against were less than perfect (as any bipartisan bill is), we needed those reforms then, there has been nothing better - either side of that is not a "fact," it is a political assessment. People are allowed to have contrary political assessments, but please don't call them "facts."

Disagreements and substantive conflict are good. But Rosario, you could have done better. You could have called Dolores. You could have suggested a joint article that would flesh out the different positions. You could have done a joint video or interview or panel, that showed how Latinas in leadership can differ on substance while remaining in solidarity and collaboration. But you wagged your finger and called her a tool of the establishment.

You will someday feel ashamed of that hubris and rude, impersonal, attacking "open letter" Rosario. I'm sorry you did it. I hope you fix it.

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