Dolores Huerta is a fearless social justice shero!

Credit: California Museum.

This social justice icon has been beaten and jailed dozens of times over her lifetime, and at 89 years old, Dolores Huerta is not slowing down. In August she was arrested while advocating for a living wage for home care workers.  

Smithsonian Museum.

Dolores is co-founder of the United Farm Workers union with Cesar Chavez, and she coined the iconic phrase “Sí Se Puede!” chanted at marches and protests in honor of social justice movements for decades.

This fearless leader started her career as a teacher in California’s San Joaquin Valley, and her activism was fueled by watching the malnourished children of farmworkers enter her classroom. She wanted to put an end to the unlivable wages, long hours, rampant assaults and no bathroom breaks that Spanish-speaking farm workers endured. 

Dolores Huerta cuts the ribbon at the renaming ceremony./Ellie Doyen, Special to the San Francisco Examiner

Dolores’ achievements include leading a national lettuce boycott that resulted in the creation of the 1975 Agricultural Labor Relations Act. Her impact on our history is so deep, that more schools are adding her legacy to their history curriculum. When Fairmount Elementary was renamed in her honor in San Francisco Unified School District in a May ceremony, children cheered! 

Dolores Huerta is arrested for her social justice work recently./mynorthwest.com

In August, just a few months later, she was arrested advocating for better working conditions of home workers in Fresno. 

Image via Pitzer College.

Dolores once asked Americans to “honor the hands that harvest your crops.” She continues to inspire and motivate younger generations to fight for social justice. Today we honor her lifetime dedication and we are honored to recognize this living legend. 

Fed up, this Latina Republican judge switched parties

Elsa Alcala at the Texas Capitol/ Julia Robinson for The Texas Observer.

After more than 20 years as a Republican, former Texas criminal appeals judge Elsa Alcala switched over to the Democratic party and denounced President Trump’s racist ideology. Her public announcement came after Trump’s “go back” attack of four Democratic congresswomen of color on social media. 

Former judge Elsa Alcala/Texas Tribune.

In a damning Facebook post, Elsa called Trump the “worst president in the history of this country.” She said that nothing positive he’s accomplished during his time in office could “absolve him of his rotten core.” Elsa also rejects the Republican party because of their continued support of Trump amid his cruel and controversial policies, despite they party’s claim that they want to be more inclusive. 

President Trump/ gq.com

This judge wants to send a clear message at a time when political divisiveness has pitted Democrats and Republicans on everything from immigration policy to women’s reproductive rights. She hoped the Texas Republican party would treat people better. But, after serving on the state’s highest criminal court,  she became a prominent critic of the death penalty. 

Death penalty./Joe Raedle/Newsmakers/getty images/file

In 2016, she questioned whether confining death row inmates to a 60-square-foot cell was cruel, and whether the death penalty itself is unconstitutional since it disaproportionately affects people of color. Since all seven people sentenced to death in Texas in 2018 were of color, Elsa said there’s “no doubt” in her mind that there is underlying racism. She also noted that if the victim is a person of color, their accused murderer is less likely to get the death penalty. 

A villain in film, Danny Trejo is a real hero!

Actor Danny Trejo is all smiles at a 2017 event./Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Actor Danny Trejo is hailed for portraying tough villainous characters in Hollywood, but it turns out Danny is even more hard-core in real life. Using quick thinking and his “superpowers,” he saved a boy from a flipped car. 

 

It all started when Danny was on his way to drop off his 1965 Buick Riviera for repairs and happened to see the driver of a sedan on the road next to him run a red light and hit a Ford Explorer. The silver SUV flipped over after the collision and the Machete star swiftly jumped into action by helping the mother pinned behind the crushed driver’s door. The hysterical mother told Danny and another bystander that her child was still trapped in his car seat. 

 

The 75-year-old California native and the other good Samaritan unbuckled and freed the child. Then Danny realized the boy was special needs and was panicking. Using skills he’s learned working with special needs kids, Danny distracted the young boy as firefighters worked on freeing the boy’s grandmother, who was also trapped in the flipped car. Danny told the boy, “we have to use our superpowers,” and the boy screamed “superpowers!” The duo yelled “superpowers” again and again until the grandmother was freed from the vehicle 👏🏽

Danny, who went from a California prison inmate to a popular Hollywood bad guy, was surprised that his actions went viral. Heroic acts like Danny’s remind us to see and seek the good around us. 

This Latina is the creator of some of today’s most iconic emojis!

Angela Guzman co-created the first set of U.S. emojis./Latin American Post

Colombian immigrant Angela Guzman’s eyes lit up at a job fair as she approached tech giant Apple’s booth to learn about internship opportunities at the company. She hit the ground running as an intern in 2008, and was soon hired to help draft nearly 500 of these 🎉🎄💍🎃🌟🍆🍊🍎 emojis we use today to express our thoughts and emotions. 

Giant emojis./Viva.nl

Her task at Apple was to take the original Japanese emojis and transform them into something new. At the time, Angela didn’t even know what emojis were 😂 

Angela Guzman on Twitter.

Born in Colombia and raised in Miami, Angela found it challenging to communicate as she learned English. In grade school, she’d rely on using pictures to interact with her classmates and teachers. This early skill and sense of ingenuity helped her land that job at Apple.

Angela Guzman co-created the first set of U.S. emojis./BBC News

Co-designing the first set of emojis allowed her to use her real-life inspiration to create some of today’s most popular ones. A dress her sister was working on for an event inspired Angela to create the turquoise dress 👗 emoji. She single-handedly created at least 180 of these playful icons.

Angela Guzman holds a wooden smiling emoji./CNBC

Angela’s discomfort as an English-learner came full-circle, since she gave us a universal tool for communication other than the written word. Now, thanks to Angela, our texts are more colorful 🎉 and 💯fun! 

This gay Latina immigrant is ready to serve as a Texas judge

Selena Alvarenga stands facing the camera with arms crossed in front of a campaign sign.
Courtesy of Selena Alvarenga campaign.

Selena Alvarenga is every good ol’ boy’s worst nightmare. She’s an educated gay Latina immigrant 🙌🏾 And she’s running for office.

Selena Alvarenga unveils her political campaign./Courtesy of Selena Alvarenga campaign.

There are 283,000 Latinxs in all U.S. prisons right now and nearly one 1 in 3 federal prisoners are Latinxs. Plus, Latinos are four times as likely to go to prison than their white male counterparts.

Selena wants to make the criminal justice system fairer for people of color by putting a stop to the school-to-prison pipeline.

This pipeline affects brown and black kids the most because it subjects them to a life of violence and poverty without an opportunity for advancement.

Selena Alvarenga is running for judge in Texas./Courtesy of Selena Alvarenga campaign.

Selena also wants less people in prison for petty crimes by focusing on rehabilitation programs that get to the root of the problem. This gives people a newfound chance at happy and healthy lives.

We have no doubt Selena will accomplish her beautiful goals. She fled El Salvador to escape the Civil War and hasn’t stopped fighting for comunidad since. It’s obvious there’s no stopping this Latina!

Once undocumented, this attorney and activist is a national hero

The 9/11 terrorist attacks shook Cesar Vargas to his core. He longed to fight for freedom alongside his friends in the military  🇺🇸 but his immigration status impeded him.

Specialist Cesar Vargas./Camilo Montoya-Galvez for CBS News.

It’s a reality that ate at him long before 2001. As a teenager he wanted to enlist in the Army Reserve, but his high school counselor told him he couldn’t because he was “illegal”.

Cesar was devastated. All he wanted to do was help protect the U.S.

Mother and son, Teresa Galindo and Cesar Vargas say goodbye./Camilo Montoya-Galvez for CBS News.

At 35 years old, that calling to serve his country turned into reality. It was a culmination of a near 20-year journey from undocumented immigrant, to an authorized and standout attorney and activist.

Army Specialist and immigration lawyer Cesar Vargas./Camilo Montoya-Galvez for CBS News.

He fought the legal system for three years before the bar approved his application, where he served as New York’s first openly undocumented lawyer.

Cesar became a renowned immigration reform activist, testified before Congress, launched an advocacy group and served as Latinx outreach strategist for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign.

Cesar Vargas and his mom Teresa Galindo couldn’t attend Cesar’s boot camp graduation./Camilo Montoya-Galvez for CBS News.

He’s proud of his service, but knows that the country he’s fought so hard to defend still leaves many in the shadows. Including his own family. His mom Teresa Galindo was heartbroken she and her younger DACA son couldn’t attend Cesar’s boot camp graduation because they lacked “proper documentation.”

Teresa Galindo and Specialist Cesar Vargas./Camilo Montoya-Galvez for CBS News.

She felt discriminated against, she said. Cesar viewed his graduation as a tribute to his mom’s determination. Cesar, you’re our héroe in every sense of the word 🙌 ¡Gracias por tu servicio!

This talented Latina is Rihanna’s go-to makeup artist

Priscilla Ono as sourced by HOLA.

Have you ever pictured yourself with Rihanna’s round-the-clock glow or lusciously vibrant lips? While the musician no doubt has natural beauty, her traffic-stopping looks are greatly enhanced by the work of Mexican American makeup artist Priscilla Ono.

Priscilla Ono is Rihanna’s go-to makeup artist. Photo sourced by Priscilla Ono on Instagram.

Priscilla is the global makeup artist for Fenty Beauty cosmetics line, and Rihanna’s go-to makeup guru. The granddaughter of Mexicans says this is her dream come true.

Growing up, her family was adamant she pursue medicine, but Priscilla had a different, bigger and bolder dream.

Priscilla Ono promoting Fenty beauty

Her grandmother was her greatest beauty inspiration as a kid. Priscilla  found herself sneaking into her abuela’s makeup bag when no one was looking.

Priscilla Ono on Instagram.

Fast forward, and Priscilla’s big break came when her now-husband asked her to do makeup for Dawn Robinson’s music video from En Vogue.

Priscilla Ono is Rihanna’s makeup artist. Photo sourced by Priscilla Ono on Instagram.

That video was Priscilla’s epiphany. Until then makeup seemed like fun on the side, but from that moment on, makeup was a real and viable career.

Her abuela was so upset at Priscilla’s decision to drop out of college to pursue beauty, that she stopped talking to her for two years. But when she saw how happy Priscilla looked during a television interview, her outlook changed.

Priscilla Ono on Instagram.

Now, Priscilla is moonlighting as a fashion designer with the launch of her plus-size line Priscilla Ono x Eloquii. Ladies, she even added pockets to her clothing for 💄maquillaje!

Keep an eye out 🙌🏾 we’ll be seeing much more of Priscilla in the fashion world!

A hero doctor for our farmworkers


John M. Glionna / Kaiser Health News

Long before he owned two clinics and had people looking up to him, he was a boy picking fruit  in the fields with his parents instead of enjoying the freedom of summertime. He knew how it felt to not have anything, not even the money to seek medical help.

 


LA Times photo

That’s why, when Dr. J. Luis Bautista reached medical school, he promised himself that he’d never turn away farmworkers just because they didn’t have money.

He’s kept that promise, since most of the 30,000 annual office visits in his Fresno, California clinics happen to be farmworkers. Many are undocumented and don’t have insurance or money. For them, getting yearly exams or preventative medical care was not an option.


John M. Glionna / Kaiser Health News

Dr. Bautista’s start in life, as one of 10 siblings in a poor family of laborers, led him to create a sanctuary for immigrants. In his clinics, patients don’t have to fear federal immigration authorities. In fact, the staff has steps in place in the event the offices are raided by la migra.

 

We never say no to patients,’ he says. He’s used the old world barter system, and some patients have paid him with onions, crafts they’ve made, eggs and even live chickens!

 

This compassionate physician also created Bautista Foundation, a nonprofit to help low-income farm families with food, clothing and scholarships so their kids can attend college.


Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

The world is much brighter with Dr. Bautista in it, especially for our farmworkers!

 

Second lease on life: Why this former Salvadoran gangster-turned-pastor helps youth

If you had told Darwin “Casey” Diaz when he was young that he would one day be a youth pastor he would have laughed you out of the room. Or worse. You see, he was once one of California’s most violent criminals.

Casey Diaz / CaseyDiaz.net

Brought to the U.S. as a toddler by his Salvadoran parents, he was a gang member at 11 years old 😮and sentenced to almost 13 years in prison by the time he was 16 for second-degree murder 😨and 57 counts of robbery 😲

Casey Diaz / Flipboard.com

He was so violent and unpredictable that he spent three years in solitary confinement at the notorious New Folsom State Prison. Ironically, that’s where he turned his life around. He became a born-again Christian while he was behind bars, and he has never looked back.

Darwin “Casey” Diaz / The Crime Report

When Diaz left prison he was nearly 24-years-old and eager to share how faith changed his life. Now, teens see him as someone they can identify with and trust. His approach has worked wonders 🤗 and at least one of his former mentees is now a youth pastor.

Casey Diaz and his book cover “The Shot Caller” / NeedandSeed.com

Diaz turned his story into the book “The Shot Caller” that he co-wrote with Mike Yorkey. The title is a reference to gang leaders who decide who lives and dies from behind prison bars.

Diaz isn’t proud of his past, but he hopes that by sharing the reality of gang culture he can help potential gang members stay far away.

Cecilia Martínez won’t be forced out of this country because Trump wants to end TPS

Cecilia Martínez arrived in the United States from El Salvador 19 years ago at the age of 16. She had two children and made a life working hard. Suddenly, everything was turned upside down by President Donald Trump’s decision to end Temporary Protected Status, a legal protection given to people fleeing violence or devastation in their home country.

Family impacted by TPS / LatinUS.TV

Instead of allowing the news to get her down, Martínez decided to take matters into her own hands. Since 2017, she has led one of the most active committees of beneficiaries of TPS seeking a definitive legal status in the U.S. from her New York home.

Cecilia Martínez / ElSalvador.com

Cecilia is so committed to this cause, that she even took a six-month leave of absence from her cleaning job to make more time for her activism. One of the things she did was join the TPS Pro-Residency Committee in Long Island as a volunteer when no one else seemed interested. She estimates some 16,000 Salvadorans who rely on TPS live in the area. 

TPS activists / ElSalvador.com

Cecilia hopes to gain permanent legal status for Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, Hondurans and others affected by TPS’s looming end. Meanwhile, hundred of the families she aims to help await a decision on whether the government will extend TPS and give them their lives back. There’s hope down south, too, as lawmakers in Florida  push to extend TPS to Venezuelans grappling with instability in their home country.