Dolores Huerta, Luis Valdez Talk Voting with SCU

Tuesday’s livestream with the labor leader and playwright is the first in a planned speaker series on racial justice.

The first event in a planned quarterly speaker series features civil rights activist, national labor leader, and 2020 Glamour Woman of the Year Dolores Huerta, and playwright, screenwriter, and actor Luis Valdez—the so-called father of Chicano theater.

The series, called SCU Listens & Learns; Race, Reflection, Renewal, will invite changemakers focused on racial justice in conversation with different moderators from around campus.

Dr. Anna Sampaio ’92 moderated the event, which is the first in a quarterly series of frank conversations about race and justice.

Professor Anna Sampaio ’92, chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies, will serve as moderator of this first event, which will stream live on YouTube and Facebook on Tuesday, October 27, from 7 to 8 p.m., and is open to the public.

“We hope to open up a dialogue and create space for these important conversations to happen here, at home, and in our own community,” says Marie Brancati, director of strategic initiatives & partnerships with the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, which is co-sponsoring the series. “With the current climate around racial injustice—from the global to the local level—and the priorities of the University, it was thought that a series bringing together influential, social justice-oriented people to have informed ethical discourse would be beneficial for our Santa Clara and broader community.”

The focus of each conversation in the series, Brancati says, is “how people can use their voice.” In addition to asking speakers to reflect on their own experiences with racial injustice and what next steps are necessary to move forward as a nation, attendees will be able to submit questions virtually for a moderated Q&A.

This first event focuses on the importance of voting as an effective tool to amplify voices, particularly those that have been historically underserved and even silenced—Latinx, Black, and other people of color; women; LGBTQ+; etc.

Early national data shows young voters are on the same page, with the share of early voters in the 18 to 29-year-old range already up 31 percent from 2016. Huerta, who at 90 remains a very visible and vocal proponent of voter registration, knows a thing or two about being an active participant in democracy as a young person. By her early 20s, Huerta had begun community organizing to fight for economic improvements for migrant farmworkers in her hometown of Stockton, California. Less than a decade later, she’d co-founded the National Farm Workers Association with César Chávez.

“We have to say to young people: ‘Listen, march in the streets until the moon turns blue, but if we do not put some of these things that we want, progressive changes, into law, it’s not going to make any difference,’” she told Glamour magazine in her 2020 Women of the Year interview. “The only way that can happen is you have to vote. Yes, take that march. But you got to march right to the ballot box.”

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