By Jason Fuller
As a young Person of Color who loves to collaborate with community in order to inform and bring forth sustainable change, I was honored to be in the same room as Dolores Huerta. Dolores Huerta was influential in the establishment of the National Farmworkers Association (now the UFW). Her activism throughout the years has given her the opportunity to inspire so many individuals passionate in the realm of community activism.
On Tuesday, Dolores was at UNM to advocate for women’s rights with regard to the upcoming items being voted on in Albuquerque’s election. The forum in general spoke to how throughout the world young people have served as organizers (Occupy, Arab Spring, Undocumented rights), and that this is no different. Dolores spoke about how students at UNM should demand a polling location on campus for the special election. Not having an on campus polling place is a failure to recognize student voice. In a subliminal way, having no on-campus voting mutes the voices of students, specifically women.
I had the opportunity to conduct an interview with her and as a result, I was able to connect her past activism with current day initiatives. In the midst of the interview, I was able to ask questions that concern sending messages to our society through social media. With Dolores recently serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California (USC), her students within her Community Organizing class are encouraged to use Social Media in order to speak to the masses.
The most profound moment of the interview occurred as I asked Dolores “what advice do you have for young people of color who are passionate about social justice?” Her response was to continue doing meaningful work. I expressed Generation Justice’s purpose and contributions to the community and media. She was moved and fondly recalled her previous interview with Generation Justice’s Victor Torres. It impressed me that of the thousands of interviews that she has done, she remembered this one.
Although my time with Dolores was brief, I realized that I am a journalist in the making! Dolores told me to connect my passion toward journalism, and in doing so my journalistic critical flame will stay lit. Dolores’s very presence is one of warmth, enlightenment and tenacity. Such qualities are necessities for those in leadership. I also felt as though, as a person of color, she was an inspiration. To young women of color though, Dolores is so much more. During the height of her organizing, women were overtly muted, yet she was able to be the voice of not just women, but all farm workers. I can only hope to one day, when I have some gray hairs, serve as an inspiration to young people, and encourage them to further change not just the world of journalism, but the world as a whole.