On Saturday November 15, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta and retired State
addressed the community at Mills College Littlefield Concert Hall. The lecture series sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center and Merritt College was hosted by Congresswoman Barbara Lee and the Honorable Elihu Harris.
Themed, “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community,” the series title echoed the same title as a book authored by Martin Luther King, Jr. In his response to the recent elections, Harris suggested the need for more coalitions created to fight for social justice.
Congresswoman Lee during her intro for Dolores Huerta, describer he as “a great warrior woman, one of my personal sheroes – an incredible foot soldier and leader for peace and equality.”
Huerta, a native of New Mexico, grew up in Stockton and gained national attention protesting unfair wages and working conditions of farmers. Along with Caesar Chavez she worked to win disability insurance for farmers and played a key role with the UFW in the passage of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975. The winner of a Presidential Medal of Freedom Award from President Barack Obama in 2012, Huerta was also inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2013.
While discussing the disparities plaguing American society, Huerta said education and bridging the community are the key solutions. She also referenced the shooting of an unarmed African American child, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri by a white police officer. “The lynching continues, but it’s now done by the police,” she said.
As founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Huerta has brought people together to improve the lives of immigrants and minorities in the areas of health, environment, education and economics.
Senator Art Torres, a 20 year veteran of the California legislator, is vice chair of the California Stem Cell Agency and dedicated is time to healthcare, education and the environment. Between 1996 and 2009, Senator Torres served as the chairman of the California Democratic Party. The Obama supporter also said the disrespect toward the president is tragic and said, “We can make changes through the polls and approach all challenges with non-violence.”
The event also featured greetings from Audree V. Jones-Taylor, Director of the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department, Mills College President, Alecia A. DeCoudreaux and Merritt College President, Dr. Norma Ambriz-Galaviz.
The MLK lecture series promotes social justice and features accomplished civic leaders. For more information visit the www.MLKFreedomCenter.org.