Thursday, March 20, 2008

Women's history alive

It's Women's History Month all over the blogs, and I thought I'd say a little piece about an amazing history-maker I was lucky enough to see last year when she spoke on our campus.

Five years ago Dolores Huerta wouldn't have meant that much to me. I was just another white girl living on the east bench of the Wasatch in Salt Lake City. Sure, I had a couple of African-American kids, so I had spent some time educating myself about Black cultural history and civil rights. I know there were Spanish-speaking immigrants in my community. But I was isolated from them. Other than my mom's mission in Ecuador, I didn't have much of a connection to any Latino culture. And I really had no idea who was picking my grapes.

Moving to California, especially the Central Valley where I live, changed that in a hurry. Within a few months I was working with a cadre of beautiful, strong Chicanas in Young Women - our new ward has joint auxiliaries with the Spanish Branch in our town. I learned about their challenges, their joyful days, their ambitions, their discomforts and their triumphs. Mostly, though, I learned to love them.

Then I got a Chicana for a daughter. Well, technically she is probably only about a quarter Mexican, I learned last week. (The other quarter that I thought was Mexican is actually Central Valley Portuguese.) But she has a Mexican surname and some rocking awesome Frida Kahlo eyebrows. And I embarked on a new phase of cultural education. I totally believe it's my responsibility as a transracial, transcultural adoptive parent to learn enough myself to provide my children with connections to their birth heritages. And so, I learn.

I was lucky enough to see Dolores Huerta speak last fall. She was powerful and moving and true. She ain't no well-behaved woman. But she has made history. She is not free from controversy. But she has affected change. And because I have gained just a little knowledge, her history does mean a great deal to me.

I hope you will take the time to read about Huerta. I intend for my daughter to know her story. It's not every day that we see an inspiring history-maker who lives among us.

(Well, right now it is, because Obama's on the news every day. But normally.)

One more viva!

1 comment:

La Traductora said...

Don't you just love strong women? And to think it started with our mothers and grandmothers as they taught us to cook.