Teresa Romero emigrated from Mexico to the United States seeking better opportunities. Now, she is following in the footsteps of labor activist legends Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta as the first Latina and first immigrant woman to lead the United Farm Workers.
Dímelo sat down with Romero before taking over as president to speak about her plans leading the UFW.
How does it feel to be the first Latina to serve as a leader of a U.S. Union?
I am excited. I am honored, I think our union has done a wonderful job not only for farm workers but for immigrants in general and it is just an honor for me to be the person the Executive Board elected to continue with this work. The people that we represent have worked very hard — they put food in our tables.
What message do you want to give to fellow Latinas regarding leadership positions?
More women are rising up, speaking their minds and taking leadership roles. You need to have the Si se puede! attitude. If you have a dream, if you work hard for it, you can accomplish anything.
What struggles have you faced in your journey to becoming what you are today?
I went through all the things immigrants go through: not understanding the culture, not understanding the language, not knowing many people and not having the support that we have in our own country. It took determination and hard work and I think that is the message that I want to send with my story.
What do you feel about being a Mexican women in a leadership position, during the Trump administration?
It makes me proud, because I am here to prove to him that what he's saying about us is not true. I've seen this all the time with our members, our farm workers, our immigrants. I see it all the time, we are good people that contribute to this society. We need to be heard. People need to understand the contributions we make — both as immigrants and as women. I just hope that if there's one person out there that gets inspired by what I am going through, it would be wonderful.
What goals from Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta do you wish to maintain during your functions as president?
To remember always who we are here for. We are not here for the title or for the salary, we are here for the farm workers. For those who understand a little bit more about our history of the UFW, people sacrificed to no end.
How would you like to be remembered as president of this union?
I would like to be remembered as somebody who came and had the energy to continue with the job that we have done for 55 years.