Legendary labor activist Dolores Huerta speaks at Seton Hall

On Oct. 20, the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute hosted an Afternoon with Dolores Huerta, an icon fighting for change by the Latino Institute.

Kegan Melancon/Staff photographer

The event began with a performance from the Seton Hall University Choir directed by Dr. Jason Tramm. Huerta gave a short lecture followed by a Q and A moderated by PBS and CNN host Alicia Menendez. Menendez featured this question and answer segment with Huerta on her podcast, Latina to Latina.

Huerta visited Seton Hall once before in 1974 for the inaugural Migrant Symposium to bring the community together in support of the United Farm Workers.

Huerta’s most recent visit recapped her work in social activism and how it relates to today’s state of labor unions and social activism movements.

“We are in a state in this country where labor unions are still being oppressed,” Huerta said.

Huerta also spoke on today’s immigration problem and how she felt towards it being from Mexican descent. Huerta and explained her experience as a Mexican in America and how she has faced racism through racial slurs used towards her.

“We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us,” Huerta commented in regards to the current immigration issue in the United States.

Going forward, Huerta spoke on the importance of what everyone can do and said it is to be engaged. According to Huerta, people cannot have a democracy if people are not engaged.

The event also featured a question and answer segment where Huerta was asked about her mother’s role in her life.

Huerta explained how her mother played a dominant role in her life and is the one who instilled these values of social justice.

Danyeris Lopez, a freshman diplomacy and international relations major, explained why she felt that going to the event allowed her to connect with her culture and interest.

“Very often the Latino community in America loses their identity and a lot of young Latinos never get to learn about their people, history, etc.,” Lopez said. “Attending this event really gave me a chance to tie in my culture and my interest meanwhile learning about history.”

Adam Varoqua, a recent Seton Hall graduate and Huerta’s handler throughout the event, commented on the event.

“Activism and advocacy are the tools to achieve justice and prograssive change within this world,” Varoqua said when asked what Seton Hall students can take from Huerta’s lecture. “It is with these mechanisms that students can push for racial justice, LGBTQ+ equality and financial justice.”

Varoqua believes that Seton Hall students have immense power together to shape this institution for the better.

Lopez believes that this event really pushed her to educate herself and others on various cultures, perspectives, and efforts.

Lopez went on to say that Huerta allowed her to continue to appreciate the role of education in her life because she believes that an educated population can solve a vast majority of the world’s problems.

As her closing remark, Huerta stated “they can cut all the flowers but they cannot hold back the spring.”

Elizabeth Rodriguez can be reached at elizabeth.rodriguez@student.shu.edu.

Author: Elizabeth Rodriguez

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