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An Open Letter to Dolores Huerta


An Open Letter to Dolores Huerta

Rosario Dawson

“When you have a conflict, that means that there are truths that have to be addressed on each side of the conflict. And when you have a conflict, then it’s an educational process to try to resolve the conflict. And to resolve that, you have to get people on both sides of the conflict involved so that they can dialogue.” ~ Dolores Huerta

Dear Dolores,


Thank you Rosario for an inspiring essay. I hope your opinions receive equal coverage as the ones Dolores Huerta put forth. Alleging that Bernie would block the human rights of any particular group is ludicrous. His decency is what makes him so attractive as a presidential candidate.


Brava, Rosario!

I knew Dolores pretty well back in the days of the grape boycott (early 1970s. She had come to New York, living in a donated Upper West Side apartment that became boycott headquarters) to organize a lettuce and grape boycott campaign in NYC and the northeastern US. My wife and I lived just a few blocks north of there, and spend a lot of time as volunteers in the campaign.

She impressed me as a passionately committed woman, dedicated to the cause of her Latino and Latina brothers and sisters laboring in the fields of central California without the protection of a union contract, and as an ardent feminist too. She was not a typical union official as I had grown to know them, driving a nice car, working in a nice office, and pulling down a fat salary.

She ate rice and beans with the rest of the volunteers, and really felt like one of us.

It pains me to see her shilling now for a wretched political hack and greed-head like Hillary Clinton, a woman who long ago sold any soul she had in order to grow obscenely rich on the bribes of her corporate sponsors.

I get no sense from her of why she even wants to be president other than that it will gratify her monstrous ego and sense of entitlement. Compare that to Bernie, who reportedly has a net worth, counting his home in Vermont, of $600,000. That might seem like a lot to a working stiff (it seems like a lot to me!), but it’s really a testimony to his lack of greed (and maybe investment acumen) that he’s only worth that much, given that he’s spent 25 years in Congress pulling down a high six-figure salary every year!

Sanders is clearly not running to be president in order to get rich. He first of all has made his job harder than he had to by refusing to have a Super Pac,

Hillary Clinton meanwhile has a lot to answer for, including to those who are calling her “sister.” One would be the assassination earlier this month of Berta Caseres, murdered by the same corrupt regime that she worked to install in the 2009 coup in Honduras that overthrew a popularly elected president. Whether she knew about it in advance or not as Secretary of State (and given the tight link between the US military and the Honduran military, it’s puppet organization with officers mostly alumni of the US Army’s notorioous School of the Americas), from the moment it took place, Clinton backed it. When the democratic governments of Latiin America joined in calling for united pressure on coup leaders to return President Zelaya to office, Clinton said no, and actually put pressure on them, with theats of trade sanctions or worse, to back off and accept a new junta-run election in which Zelaya would not be allowed to compete.

The result has been Honduras became a kind of war zone, with the government slaughtering its opponents, and gangs running rampant. In fact, the flood of kids fleeing Honduras through Mexico to the (relative) safety of the US was a direct result of her support of that coup. Yet what did she do? She supported the policy of sending those poor kids back to the violence they had fled, saying she wanted the kids to “send a message” to their parents, not to send their children north.


And Dolores is supporting and endorsing that monster?

I have to believe that the great woman I knew is not following the alternative news, which has reported in depth on Hillary Clinton’s crimes. That’s a shame, because as a veteran of the struggle of people of color and of oppressed workers, I know Dolores is well aware that the corporate media in the US is not to be trusted as a source of information. In fact, the very fact that the NY Times has endorsed Clinton should make her think twice about doing the same.

I hope she will read your carefullly argued letter and will drop Clinton like the stinking, rotten hot potato that she is, and that she will instead support a genuine champion of women’s rights, workers’ rights, labor unions, and the civil, economic and legal rights of people of all colors.

Dave Lindorff
founding editor of ThisCantBeHappening.net


Rosario Dawson,long before you imagined yourself in show business,Dolores,Cesar,Bert Corona and other battled in the field of social justice against real monsters,who didnt want them having any kind of opportunities and in some cases,their very lives.You are naive to think that Bernie record with Chicanos and othe latinos groups on a national level,can approximate anything close to what the Clintons have done.The fundamental difference is that Bernie never really been at the table,they have,good or bad,right or wrong,they have been in the game.More disturbing,to me is your failure to recognize that you suffer from “Sean Penn”,disease,you imagine or you portray a role where,what you have to say somehow equates to policy for latinos,because you are a celebrity .You just discovered that latinos are underrepresented and they must register to vote,if they want their voices to be heard.Sorry,but this isnt our first rodeo,as far back as president Carter,the same issues have been talked about and after each election,there is the same buyers remorse for latinos.In the interveneing time its people like Dolores Huerta,that have kept up the struggle in real life.You have confused celebrity with knowledge and experience,your disrespect of Dolores is sad.I not familar with your particular background,but chicanos in the southwest have a fundamental respect for our elders and like cesar chavez,Dolores Huerta is an iconic figure,who has fought real battles,been in more democratic campaigns than most,has shared more visions of america going back to the john kennedy campaign and she is still fighting,because she understands through the wisdom of time that its not campaign magic,that changes lives,but real organizing.Her life is not scripted,it is marked with the scars of living.Respect is earned.


A congressional salary is a LOW six-figure salary: $174,000. And didn’t get there until 2009.

Not that I’d mind getting it, but let’s be accurate. :wink:


Based on the things Huerta has been saying against Sanders, and in support of Clinton, one of the scars of living seems to be grotesque hypocrisy or, perhaps, dementia, because everything Dawson is saying is so.

What Huerta is saying now is an insult to what she did, heroically, for many years, but those actions decades ago don’t make her right now.

Your ad hominem attack on Dawson does not disprove the actual evidence she presents. Nor does Huerta’s exemplary history excuse her present-day lies.


As with John Lewis and others, it’s sad to see folks who at one point in their lives put those lives on the line for justice succumb to the corruption of the soul that comes from too close contact with “friends in high places”.

We can appreciate their past courage without letting it lend credence to their present pathetic postures.


How strangely silent HRC and Huerta are after the Arizona primary election fraud!! I guess disenfranchising. Voters is a good thing when it’s for Hillary. Really why aren’t these champions of minority rights complaining about this? Smells like coin tosses and Bill Clinton visiting election sites in Massachusetts to me cheating cheating cheating. This will not win over any Bernie supporters or independence please everyone spread the word Bernie or bust


Independents I mean. Voice typing


Go Rosario! Thanks!


“Respect is earned” and Clinton has earned zero respect. You tout a supposed “record” but cite NOTHING that “the Clintons have done.” Their actual record makes your empty assertion look ridiculous.

Huerta’s shocking distortions on behalf of Clinton are clearly refuted by Sanders’ actual record. Clinton’s ugly record is also clear. Clinton has earned contempt.


Yes, respect is earned. And it can also be pissed away.
Your rhetoric here is nostalgic. People change over time, for a variety of reasons we won’t always know.
What matters is what people do, which I’m sure you’d agree with given your post.
But what Huerta is doing is wong, and she’s been cold busted more than once. And while most of us cringe to see it, we can’t just pretend it didn’t happen because of the good things she did in the past.
We’re responsible for all of our actions not just the favorable ones.
As far as Clintons sitting at tables, that’s their game. They do show up, often when others don’t. But that’s all they do. And the screw them as hard as they’ll screw you. They understand the power of an appearance of solidarity better than any political couple I’ve ever seen. And they’ve never meant a single word of it. Ever. They sit with and acknowledge blacks, right before they jail them over petty drug charges by the millions. They’ll sit with you, right before they flood the labor market with low wage competitors.
Ya gotta aim higher. For your own sake, not ours.


Bernie went to Omoklee, Fla.
Hillary went to Goldman Sachs.
That is all you really need to know.
Dolores, are you for Wall Street or are you for the people on the ground?
Get your priorities lined up please!
Caesar Chavez would have loved to have worked with Bernie, he would have smelled sulpher with Hillary for sure.


What positions can Dolores realistically hold? She’s 86-years old. The truth is, Dolores, as nice as she is on a personal level, has always been backwards on a number of issues. She is a red baiter, and I know this from having worked with her. At least in the past, she was also homophobic. As the VP of United Farm Workers, she had been all for deporting anyone brought into the US to be used to break UFW strikes. Most of those workers had no idea they were being used as scabs, and were being sent back to horrible circumstances by people who should have been on their side. There is most likely a specific organizational reason for her being so palsy with Clinton, as that was always the motivation to support other questionable political candidates over the years. Not having spoken with her in several decades, I wouldn’t venture to guess what her current agenda is.


Up-vote! But that’s Imokalee FLA, home of radical farmworker organizers Coalition of Imokalee Workers, non-UFW organizers who have won major increases in wages through solidarity campaigns.


Thank you, Ms. Dawson.

Years ago I watched a play where a woman sitting in her bathrobe with curlers in her hair begins to yell at the TV set because the host is lying.

THAT is how I felt when watching Dolores on yesterday’s “Democracy Now.”

She totally downplayed Bernie Sanders with that blindness shown by some older women who seem to think that it’s more important to get a woman into the Oval Office than examine the true positions said woman has endorsed, enforced, and outsourced!

The only thing missing from this thorough analysis is the degree to which policies advocated by Mrs. Clinton have destroyed the lives of women, children, mothers, and innocent males throughout far too much of the world.

And when injury doesn’t come directly through war means, then its financial equivalent wreaks havoc as has been the case throughout Central and South America.

What Latina woman would argue for more of THAT?


I have seen the work of this beautiful actress for some years but I was really impressed when I looked at her profile on the Internet Movie Database. Ms. Dawson is a truly dedicated activist and progressive and this column is an impressive response to a woman who she obviously admires but who has clearly disappointed her for these utterances about Clinton. And for good reason. It is always disheartening to see someone who has done excellent work somehow veer away from their previous positions and compromise their professed beliefs for the sake of some form of expediency.
We expect that from our politicians but it is harder from people who have earned our earlier respect due to their good work.
Well done, Ms. Dawson! Go Bernie!


This is a lazy and irresponsible response to the thoughtful and TRUE specifics presented by Dawson. Gee, I wonder why NO ONE has given you a Like.


I’d think she’d be wary of neoliberals, after having lost her spleen to an assault by an S.F. cop while protesting the appearance of Bush the First.


abareho- please don’t try to speak on behalf of other Chicanos like myself in the Southwest. I understand the contribution of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta to the cause but I was so disappointed to hear
her endorse a Corporate candidate like Clinton who stands against everything every activist in America has fought for. Clinton’s record shows she is bought and paid for by corporate America and is not a person of the people, American workers, our children or mother earth. Huerta’s past fight for Farmworkers was noble and genuine but as we look to present day America and our future she sold out big time when she endorsed Clinton. I respect what her activism did for Farmworker rights but what you do and say TODAY and how that plays into the future is what counts now. This is a new fight, not just for Chicanos/Latinos… it’s a brutal fight for all of Americans who hurt and worry for our future and the future of all of our children. Clinton will surely hurt everyone’s future if she is elected and I expect Chicano/Latino, Black activist to remain TRUE to the cause and not cave to or hob nob with the Establishment powers. True activist stay true the cause to the grave!. Bernie is finally the chance we have at achieving what every activist in America has fought for and I am one Chicano who supports his fight, our fight to take the White House!