Mark Adler Louis Hernandez Lilia Ramos Leland Reed and Pedro Bena Mitsuo Higa Jesus Gonzalez Rose Kraft Jesus Martinez

Dolores Jimenez


Your prejudice and all that begins at home. I remember one time I went to Missouri -- that was the only time I left California -- I represented the Board of Education, as a grandparent or parent, you know. All I heard in the conference was about the black child, the black child, the black child. I told 'em I came clear to Missouri to hear about a child, not just one particular race. They had a microphone where you could talk after the people talked, so I got up there and I told 'em. The ladies I had gone with said, "Oh no, Dolores, you're not going up there to talk." When I've got to say something, I say it.

So I went up there and I said, "I want you, all of you" -- and there was about five thousand men and women in the conference, you know, and I said, "I want you to all to close your eyes for a minute and come with me to a kindergarten in East L.A.," I said, "You have a black child, you have a white child, you have Filipino, Chinese, Mexican, all races in the kindergarten." I said, "You have to have your eyes closed now, because we're in East L.A." I said, "One child will fall down and scrape its knee and they all run to it, all the nations, the kids. They look at what happened and then they go and call the teacher so she can come and fix it.

"But what happens when they get to sixth grade? 'I don't wanna sit by you, you're Mexican. I don't wanna sit by you, you're white. I don't wanna sit by you, you're black.' What happened from kindergarten to the sixth grade?" I said, "You know what happened? It's you and you and you and me. In our own houses we talk about the Mexican child, we talk about the black child. Maybe in conversation with the husband and wife, but they've got ears and they hear. So that's where they learn the prejudice, at home."

I said, "And I come all the way from East L.A. to listen about one race of child? I don't think so." I said, "I came to learn about a child so that I could go back and tell them what I heard. That's what I want to learn," I said. I said, "I don't want to learn just about one child, one race."

Everybody stood up and they started clapping. After that we still had two more days of conference and the atmosphere changed completely.