“Police kill Latinos disproportionately. Latino legislators must stand up for reform,” runs the headline on a March 29 Sacramento Bee op-ed piece by Dolores Huerta, 88, co-founder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers (UFW).
“More than a few police officers abuse their power,” Huerta writes, “hiding behind the badge of authority to harass, demean and sometimes kill members of our community.” And “I am no stranger to this experience.”
On Sept. 14, 1988, she writes, “I was distributing grape boycott literature outside a San Francisco hotel when I was physically assaulted by a San Francisco police officer. He sent me to the hospital with broken ribs and a ruptured spleen.”
So now Huerta wants the legislature to pass AB 392, and calls on “every Californian of good conscience to use their voice and power to make sure our state laws reflect the value we place on human life, humanity and basic human rights. Together, we can do it. ¡Sí, se puede!”
For their part, Californians might note that the storied Huerta is a bit one-sided on the killing side. The day after Christmas in Newman, California, a criminal Mexican illegal calling himself Gustavo Perez Arriaga, among other names, gunned down police officer Ronil Singh, a legal immigrant from Fiji who wanted to be a police officer in America. This murder, by a gang member who was not supposed to be in the United States, prompted no passionate op-ed piece from Dolores Huerta, supposedly concerned about human rights.
Huerta was also silent in 2014 when Mexican national and repeat deportee Luis Bracamontes gunned down police officers Danny Oliver and Michael Davis in Sacramento County. In court, Bracamontes said he wished he’d killed more cops, and shouted “black lives don’t matter,” at family members of the victims, including Danny Oliver’s wife Susan.
In 2011, Saul Isidro-Aucencio and Francisco Delgado, Mexican nationals in the country illegally, gunned down Americans Robert Corpos, 20, Richard Ward, 16, and Jamir Miller, 15. The illegals shot Miller in the head from behind, and shot Corpos in the back as he sought cover behind a tree.
This atrocity prompted no op-ed piece from Dolores Huerta, who claims to value life. Neither did the shooting of Kate Steinle by a repeatedly deported Mexican criminal who calls himself Juan Inez Garcia Zarate and a bunch of other names. Californians of good conscience might also wonder about her pronouncements on harassment and such.
Californians may have forgotten, or never knew in the first place, that saintly UFW icons Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta derided migrant workers as “wetbacks” and deployed UFW goons to beat the hell out of them. Last year, workers at Gerawan Farms near Fresno voted 1098 to 197 to reject the United Farm Workers union as their representative. Beyond the five-to-one landslide, the timing was more significant.
The workers submitted their ballots a full five years before in 2013. The state Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) refused to count the ballots until the court ordered them to do so. From 50,000 in the late 1970s, Huerta’s UFW is now down to only about 8,000 members.
According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, a full 85.3 percent of California workers, the vast majority, are not union members. Unions represent only 14.7 percent of California workers, a small minority.
Meanwhile Californians might wonder if UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta represents their thinking in any meaningful sense. And it would be hard to blame all Californians of good conscience for ignoring her. As she says, ¡Sí, se puede!”