Dear Dolores:

You give zero fucks. And I love it.

Before the DOLORES screening, I prepared what I would say during the Q&A:

My name is Marsha Rivera. I grew up in Porterville, CA. I am a first generation Guatemalan American. My dad worked in the fields when he was in between mechanic jobs. My question for you is more of a request. A request of you to speak to the pressure we feel to not waste our parents’ sacrifices. And to the internal conflict we feel of being thankful for having jobs in a corporate environment versus speaking out about the systemic injustices we face daily.

But I couldn’t do it. I didn’t do it.

The guy to the left of me asked the first question. About current conditions for field workers. To me, he sounded like a city-guy asking about the country life. It was a great question for current workers. However, she’s been out of the biz for a while. Nonetheless, she answered flawlessly.

The guy to the right of me wanted to raise his hand too. I felt it. I hesitated.

A woman behind me spoke next. She thanked Dolores for her involvement in the 1968 Immigration Reform and Control Act. Which changed her family’s life for the better. Obviously. ME TOO- I wanted to yell. I didn’t do it.

The same woman asked Dolores’s son about his role in the organization. He answered. Dolores answered. And before we knew it, it was over. Q&A ended.

Why didn’t I raise my hand?

Seeing images of Police brutality from Delano officers during the strikes reminded me that little has changed within Law Enforcement. And better yet, I can’t be certain that my own brother is policing with compassion. Compassion isn’t taught in the Academy.

Feelings of shame and sadness flooded over me. I was too ashamed to raise my hand and ask for empathy and encouragement. Not when I’ve done nothing to speak to my brother about his role in changing relations between the community and the police.

But Dolores answered me anyway. She addressed the elephant in the room.

If you are feeling depressed about the current political climate, think of this:

You can cut all the flowers. But you cannot keep Spring from coming.
Pablo Neruda

And she didn’t let us leave until she lead us in a chant. Zero fucks about her press schedule. And we chanted:

Who’s got the power?
WE GOT THE POWER

What kind of power?
PEOPLE POWER

SI SE PUEDE. CLAP CLAP CLAP.

Thank you for years of service. Thank you for today. And thank you for continuing the fight.

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