Activism panel at CSUF highlights film about Dolores Huerta and local activists

In Campus News, News, Top Stories
(Treva Flores / Daily Titan)

Correction: This story was changed at 12:54 p.m. on Saturday, June 16 to correct the spelling of Rida Hamida’s name and to correct that she is Palestinian, not a Latina.

Dolores Huerta worked side by side with Caesar Chavez during the farmworkers movement and coined the famous Spanish phrase, “Sí se puede.” She led many activists in their fight for the rights of agricultural workers in the United States.

The Cal State Fullerton Associated Students, Inc., Association for InterCultural Awareness hosted an activist panel discussion and documentary screening of the film “Dolores” on Feb. 28.

The documentary featured several of her children who recounted memories of their mother’s activism, which has widely gone unrecognized.

During the panel, Rida Hamida from Latino Muslim Unity said all mothers are activists because they have to “raise good human beings.”

“I don’t think we have to think of activism as only grassroots organizers, but we have to think of the capacity that every person has to be an activist in their space to make cultural and social change,” Hamida said.

As a single mother who is both Palestinian and Muslim, Hamida has fought very hard against stereotypes that are aimed toward her communities.

“I refuse to be identified based on someone else’s perception of myself,” Hamida said.

Gwen Alexis, professor of African American studies at CSUF shared her experience of growing up in the ghetto.

“I didn’t think of myself — and I still don’t think of myself — as an activist. I think of myself as someone who saw a need and wanted to help,” Alexis said.

She helped create after-school programs when she saw that the children in her community had nowhere to go when school ended. She also helped start a soup kitchen and taught dance and drama.

Johnathan Ryan Hernandez, from the Roses in Concrete Community School in Oakland, grew up in a less fortunate neighborhood as well.

“What do you expect of a kid who was born into the concrete? I had more opportunities to be a gang member than I did to go to college,” Hernandez said.

After opening up about his mother’s struggles with methamphetamine and his father’s absence, Hernandez said he became desensitized to seeing regular heroin use in his house whether it was needles in the bathroom or watching his uncle overdose.

Hernandez said the key to escaping his neighborhood was education.

“What I’m most passionate about is encouraging young people to get educated. But come back to the concrete and then we’ll have rose gardens,” Hernandez said.

Susan Chang, a member of the Korean Resource Center, found her activism through school.

“I got into the work that I do now mainly from classes, I started out not knowing anything. Three years ago I wasn’t even registered to vote,” Chang said.

Over time, Chang became more involved through education about social issues happening in Orange County, like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

At the end of the panel, the activists were asked how students could become involved in activism.

Hairo Cortes from Chispa said that something as small as signing a petition helps activists in knowing how much support they have and helps others stay informed about current issues.

“You don’t have to wait. You don’t have to wait to graduate, you don’t have to do this for a career, but you can dedicate some time,” Cortes said.

After all, activists like Huerta and Chavez were just ordinary people who wanted to make a difference.

Hernandez said there are people that “see this as their job” and then there are people that “see this as their life.”

“Don’t do this to make a living. Do this to make a life,” Hernandez said.

If you liked this story, sign up for our weekly newsletter with our top stories of the week.

You may also read!

Photo Illustration showing a housing development.

Proposition 1 could authorize bonds to fund housing

Proposition 1, known as the Housing Programs and Veterans’ Loan Bond, would authorize bonds to fund housing assistance programs,

One pumpkin has the same medicinal benefits as supplements from the pharmacy.

Here’s why pumpkins are the superfood of the fall season

Despite the Southern California sun, fall is in full swing and the pumpkins are here to stay. Although this

A police bus blows smoke on the site of the maze.

The 17th Door provides thrillseekers in Fullerton with hair-raising maze

The 17th Door in Fullerton is easy to miss; the only thing leading thrillseekers in the right direction is


Mobile Sliding Menu