Dolores Huerta: “Si, Se Puede”

When I asked Dolores Huerta how to deal with overt racism like we saw in Charlottesville, Virginia, she replied quickly with one word: “organize”.

“People have taken their hoods off and you can identify them,” says Huerta. “I think people are now really concerned and paying attention and it’s time now for all of us to get together and to be active and involved to change some of the policies that are hurting our society.”

At 87, Dolores Huerta is a legend. She co-founded the United Farm Workers union with Cesar Chavez. She coined the slogan “Si, se puede” or “Yes, we can” that President Obama used in his run for the presidency. Obama honored her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

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Thank you all for the kind words on this, my 64th birthday. It is great to have so many great friends.

My significant other, Diane Harter, asked if I felt a year older today. I said I felt the same. At least I do right now. I don’t mind getting older. I’m happy to be 64.  Now, I just need to remember that I can get AARP and other senior citizen discounts.

I am lucky that I have Diane in my life and after recently attending the 36th annual Cerna Family Reunion in Pasco, I realize how fortunate I am to belong to a big, loud, crazy, loving and wonderful Mexican-American family.

I am also glad to have meaningful work and the opportunity to be active in the community. It keeps me going.

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Living with Depression

When I heard of Robin Williams’s death, I felt, like many, shock and sadness. He was such a talent, a force of nature, who made me laugh and gave joy to so many people. He was battling severe depression and, according to his wife, Parkinson’s disease.  We may never know what finally pushed him over the edge to take his own life.

What I do know is that depression can take a person to that edge. As someone who has struggled with it since I was 34, I know the pain it can bring. There’s the sense of worthlessness, the fatigue, the joylessness of life, and the frustration for your family and friends that want you to just snap out of it.

I spent many days wishing I would wake up and all would be well.

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When Jessica Esparza heard the news, she was shocked. She wasn’t alone. Others were taken aback as well because no one expected it to happen. What happened was a landmark vote by the Washington Senate, 35-10, resulting in the passage of SB 6523, a measure the Republican-led Senate Majority Caucus Coalition calls the Real Hope Act. It is similar to the Dream Act bill that was approved in the House. The Senate bill provides public college financial aid for children of undocumented immigrants, kids known as DREAMers, kids like Jessica Esparza.

Jessica is 20 and a student in the nursing program at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake. She was 11 when she left Mexico and settled with her family in Quincy.

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An Open Letter to 2014

Dear 2014,

Hello and thanks for having me. I meant to write earlier so I could post it January 1st but I procrastinated a lot in 2013. Of course, one of my 2014 resolutions is to stop procrastinating. Yes, I know, there are a lot of people who have made the same resolution. I will do my best, but don’t be surprised if I end up saying I procrastinated a lot in 2014.

There are a few things I need to say about 2013. It was not a bad year. In fact, in many ways it was a very good year. I celebrated my 60th birthday. I produced a documentary Latinos: The Changing Face of Washington. It was one of the highlights of my career in television.

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