Three Lessons from Dolores Huerta

About six weeks ago I attended an event at Union Theological Seminary celebrating Dolores Huerta. It was an honor to be in the same room as this real life hero. Having read the picture book Lado a Lado with my students for years now, it was surreal to be there, and hear her speak in person.

At the end of the evening, in response to an audience question, she shared these tips for activists. In this moment, where our government is ripping children away from their families (again), this advice feels especially necessary.

Here are Ms. Huerta's three tips:

  1. It’s a long journey, not a quick moment.
  2. Don’t give up, mistakes are our best teachers.
  3. Bring someone with you.
I had planned to make a longer blog post about this, but tonight, I'm exhausted. There are 4.5 days of school left and the world seems like a giant racist dumpster fire. So, I'll share Ms. Huerta's words without much commentary.

Let me just say this: I am grateful for heroes like Dolores Huerta. They have shown us how we can be powerful, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. They have shown us that the fight for freedom is winnable, but it requires courage, tenacity, and the ability to build a loving community.

All of these lessons apply to teaching as well. I will take these lessons with me as I reflect on the year coming to an end. But in this moment, these lessons feel most important to my work outside my classroom.

Dolores Huerta is 88 years old. She may not be with us much longer. But the world is as scary a place as ever. We all need to take action, in whatever way we can, today and each day ahead. We can do it, not all at once, and not alone, but we can do it. Si se puede.


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