THE BLOG
03/31/2016 12:55 pm ET Updated Mar 29, 2017

Puerto Ricans Should Not Attack Our Mexican American Heroes Like Dolores

Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, has been a long time advocate regarding the immigration issue, however, the same cannot be said of Rosario Dawson.  According to FOX News Latino, Rosario Dawson, an actress of Puerto Rican / Cuban descent and political activist wrote a scathing open letter to the Mexican-American labor activist before Easter late last week in response to Dolores Huerta’s op-ed that essentially lambasted Bernie Sanders’ record on immigration.  Huerta is a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton,  and she was stumping in my state just last week before the Arizona primary election.  It is duly noted Dawson did not write a scathing open letter to Congressman Gutierrez who is an actual lawmaker who is also supporting Sec. Hillary Clinton.

Those of Puerto Rican descent like Dawson ought to think twice about attacking our Mexican American heroes like Dolores Huerta. Dolores is a Martin Luther King equivalent to many Chicanas, and in my opinion, it is not really a smart thing to do considering Chicano Mexican/Americans make up approximately 65% of the entire Latin population.  Puerto Ricans only make up between 9-10%, while those of Cuban descent make up of about 3% and so forth. Chicanos are the lion share of economic and labor contributions.  Buzz of a boycott against Rosario is now getting around on social media because of her disrespect to our icon. With the number of movie of Chicano / Mexican American ticket buyers in the great southwest,  I would say Dawson's disrespectful approach could backfire on her at the box office.

Bel Hernandez is the President / CEO of Latin Heat Media with over 25 years of experience advocating for Chicanos as well as other Latin ethnic groups within the entire Hispanic population.  She is a Mexican American Chicana who is well respected in the entertainment industry.

Bel Hernandez stated:

Hypocrite Dawson. Stop attacking Dolores Huerta just because she is voting for Hillary and not your guy! You say “I have been doing voter registration for 11 years," good for you. However, you are no Dolores Huerta (and you were a terrible choice to play her in the film Cesar Chavez...I didn't say it back then but I now say it loud and clear). You will never compare to Dolores who has been doing voter registration, fight for civil rights and workers who has been doing so for 56 years...you will never accomplish anything near what Dolores has accomplished...not even if you live to be 120. Stick to the issues and stop disrespecting someone just because they are not voting like you.  #‎IUsedToRespectYou Thanks for proving who you really are.

David Damian Figueroa, respected entertainment industry professional and non-profit advisor, who oversaw Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund's (MALDEF) corporate and foundation partnerships, communications, special events, and branding initiatives chimed in and wrote:

"...it hurts me to know that someone she cared for and helped so much betrayed her in print. I am dumbfounded by how passionate folks are in writing all this horrible stuff about my dear friend on social media.....disregarding her body of unmatched work for over 6 decades. But when it comes to registering voters, feeding and clothing the homeless and, marches, organizing, mentoring and so many other selfless acts those folks are nowhere to be found. It takes hard work and sacrifice to create social change and Dolores has been doing this tirelessly and with no complaint. If Rosario disagreed with Dolores, she could have called her to say I disagree with you Dolores. Plain and simple. Why Rosario chose to go to such lengths to TRY to take down Dolores just baffles me...."

As a result of Rosario writing a scathing letter about our Chicana hero, Dolores Huerta, she is also receiving backlash from the likes of Cindy Casares, a columnist for the Texas Observer, who blasted  Dawson in an op-ed for the Guardian US saying that if Huerta has concerns about Sanders, people should listen to them.

Casares wrote:

"...In case there was any doubt as to whether Sanders approved of her message, Dawson was subsequently picked to introduce him at speaking events in San Diego and Los Angeles..."

According to Think Progress, "Sanders’ position on immigration has been called “complicated” and he has been criticized by immigration activists for supporting the idea that immigrants coming to the U.S. are taking jobs and hurting the economy, a theory that has been proven incorrect."

Though President Obama voted in support of immigration reform in 2007 under President George W. Bush, Bernie Sanders voted against the much needed policy change despite millions of Chicanos and Latinos who were marching for it across the Nation.  Bernie voted for a stricter immigration policy when it was passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate in 2013, and I believe he did so because he knew he needed Hispanic voters when he decided to run as a Presidential candidate.   Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro blasted Bernie on Twitter for his vote to help protect Minutemen vigilantes.  3 years later after Bernie’s vote to protect Minutemen,  a young Mexican American girl near the border of Mexico in Arizona was shot to death in front of her mother by Shawna Forde who was found guilty in the court of law.

 

Brisenia Flores shot by a Minuteman Murderer Shawna Forde in Arizona.

 

Where was Dawson at recently in my State of Arizona while Jane Sanders participated in the Tent City media stunt alongside Sheriff Joe Arpaio?  Perhaps she was oblivious to publicity stunts that help fund Arpaio’s re-elections.

In a recent op-ed Len Sherman, a former aide and Arpaio biographer stated:

Millions of dollars needed for his [Arpaio] increasingly difficult re-election campaigns rolled in, along with the media attention he so desperately craves.

This is not the first time Mexican Americans have take issue with Puerto Rican misunderstandings.  For instance, founder of Think Mexican took issue with Puerto Rican-led website Latino Rebels and wrote:

Julio Varela’s own words speak for themselves. Not only is Latino Rebels really a front to promote his marketing career, its business model is based on exploiting the Mexican community and our culture. And this has now lead to divisions and infighting between us.

Most politically-savvy individuals understand that the Hispanic and Latino vote is not a monolithic one. 

For instance, Texas Senator Ted Cruz (who is a Canadian-born son of a Cuban immigrant) is a living example of this.  The majority of immigrant advocates know and understand that Chicano Mexican Americans have been bearing a lot of the burden with regard to fighting for fair and legal immigration – not only for Mexicans, but for the Irish, the people of India and etc. 

Puerto Ricans receive automatic citizenship, therefore, they may not really feel the same level of pain Mexican families experience when their families are being ripped apart due to the broken immigration system Republicans refuse to want to fix.  Cuban immigrants receive the wet-foot-dry-foot policy, who also may not share the same level of heart ache Mexican American families experience because they are able to receive privileged amnesty along with tax payer funded government benefits while Mexicans do not.

Dawson does not express the views of Chicanas who are in support of Hillary Clinton.  Unlike Rosario, we are not as forgiving as the Puerto Ricans are on the issue of immigration.  We haven’t forgotten Bernie’s “no vote” against immigration reform in 2007 despite the millions of us who marched for it across our Nation beginning in 2006.   

I would not be surprised to see Mexican Americans (who were once a big fan of Dawson) begin to avoid watching her talent on the screen and/or boycott her shows and film all together.  Time will certainly tell.  In any event, I hope other ethnic groups within the entire Hispanic population will take note that Mexican Americans are keeping mental score when it comes to our Martin Luther King equivalents. Mexican American Chicanos are a significant share of the "Hispanic" population pie, and should the time arise when Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Colombians, Peruvians and etc., need  our population numbers voting help when it comes to issues affecting their community -- it would be a good idea for them to be a little more sensitive to our Mexican American heroes. 

C/S