Timoteo Prado, an organizer for the Dolores Huerta Foundation, had left the store when he was stopped by police officers and detained in 1992. His wife and children were in the car when law enforcement attempted to pull him out of the car window. Officers twisted his arm and tore the ligaments when he was pulled out of the car and cuffed. Officers smashed his head against the care, breaking his jaw.
“I spent a year and a half without being able to work,” Prado said. “My family and I had to go to therapy. I am very saddened by what is happening in our communities today.”
Prado’s story is one of many stories shared at a press conference held by the Dolores Huerta Foundation last week. The organization held the press conference as a way to support the Black Lives Matter movement and to stand in solidarity with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery — all who have died from police violence.
“Today we will share the grievences of the nation due to the continued police violence against African Americans and people of color,” said Camila Chavez, DHF Executive Director. “We are hosting this press conference to express our solidarity with the protests across this country and around the globe who are demanding an end to police violence.”
The Dolores Huerta Foundation also announced at the press conference their support in defunding policing in schools. In the 2009-10 school year, the Kern High School District had more than 2,500 expulsions, and 90 percent of them were black and brown students, according to DHF Education Policy Director Cecilia Castro.
“DHF calls on Central Valley school districts to stand against police violence and terminate contracts with local police departments,” Castro said. “Our students for far too long have had to endure an education system that relies on punitive practices like zero tolerance rather than a holistic and restorative approach.”
Castro called to defund police in schools and use that funding to adopt restorative practices and access to mental health resources.
“We need to dismantle our education system’s dependence on law enforcement and invest in health and the well-being of our students and our communities,” said Castro.
Dolores Huerta also touched on the problem sweeping the nation.
“We know that this is the root that is affecting our country right now,” Huerta said. “We have got to start making a very active effort to engage and erase the racism in our country.”
She also gave her own story of facing police violence. Huerta said she was beaten by police officers in San Francisco in 1988.
“That was a couple of decades ago, and we really haven’t advanced if things have gotten worse,” Huerta said. “Law enforcement has become more militarized.Law enforcement has grown and we can say that the result of that is more people of color that are brutalized and are getting killed.”
Huerta continued: “Let’s continue to mount and grieve with and really support those families that have lost their loved ones to police misconduct. The best way to do that is to start making the changes that we have to make right now to end the racism in our society. We can do it together. Si se puede.”
Featured Photo: Hundreds of people protested the death of George Floyd Friday, May 29, 2020, in front of the Bakersfield Police Department in downtown Bakersfield. Photo by Henry Barrios for Kern Sol News