Rosario Dawson Explains Why Millennials Are The New Breed Of World Changers

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It’s hard enough being a woman in Hollywood, as the statistics on gender imbalance are pretty grim. And that’s whether you are behind the camera or in front. Now if you add race and socio-economic background into the mix, the stats become even more imbalanced. Sounds like a sucky situation, but fear not, there are many warrior women who are taking great strides to change this issue across the board.

Actress Rosario Dawson is one of those young women. At age 34 she has made over 50 films! The latest of which is ‘Cesar Chavez’ based on the man himself. Rosario plays the role of Dolores Huerta, who was Chavez’s right hand woman. The film stars Michael Pena as Chavez, and America Ferrera as Helen Chavez.

Rosario did an interview with The Daily Beast where she talked about her stance on immigration, especially after playing such an important role in this film, and her career as a Latina woman.

Playing the role of Dolores Huerta, an activist who helped Chavez form the United Farm Workers labor union to provide better working conditions for immigrant Mexican farmers, it has opened up her eyes to a lot of struggles not just for women, but for women who are also classed as minorities. The thing she found most shocking was the lack of education about both Huerta and Chavez in America.

“I’d tell people I was doing a movie about Chavez and they’d say: Hugo? The boxer? …and they’d stare at me blankly. She won the Medal of Freedom! This is not OK. This was the farmworkers’ unionized movement—marginalized people coming together, many of them illiterate, and making a noise loud enough that resounded around the world. The fact that these boulevards and streets that are named after Chavez don’t mean things to people is shameful, and evidence of how our education system’s failed us. This was a movement that went “viral” before we used the word viral.”

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Rosario says this film has a strong message that will hopefully resonate with millennials, who are also on the same wavelength when it comes to breaking the mold and creating something dynamic. And immigration is something that is important to this demographic.

“Young millennials are the first group that, as diverse as they are, really wants traction on a lot of these different issues…[they] can watch this movie and go, ‘OK, that group of illiterate farmworkers banded together and changed the world. I’m a young person that feels very marginalized—people only treat me like a consumer—but I can change the world.’ ”

The actress talks about her own social stigmas growing up, and how she used them to become stronger rather than feel like she wasn’t able to be the best at what she does. Being Puerto Rican, growing up on the Lower East Side of New York (notorious for being low-income), and having family members who didn’t have the means to go to college, she had a lot to battle through, but it wasn’t impossible.

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“There’s a reality where you walk into a meeting with a producer and they go, “Oh, you’re so articulate!” And you go, “Why do you sound so surprised?” It’s so patronizing and ridiculous.”

“It’s like Mandela said: people are taught to hate, you’re not born that way. So it puts pressure on all of us to continue to look at the next generation and pass on our activism.”

Rosario goes on to say how she managed to break out of the stereotypical roles she was immediately cast in: the Latina girl “from the block” and instead carved out an impressive resume filled with various roles that weren’t necessarily defined by her race or gender.

“I’ve somehow navigated my way through the maze of the ageism, racism, sexism, and all the walls and blocks that exist there, because they do, and they exist for a reason. People like to tell their own stories and there’s a very specific demographic in Hollywood that gets to make those choices, but there are more and more voices that are coming into the fold that are getting more powerful, and the audience is changing, which is giving us an opportunity. It’s not that I haven’t seen that stuff come up, but it hasn’t deterred me.”

We love Rosario’s fresh perspective on Hollywood and how millennials are becoming the new world-changers. Sure there are negative things we come up against, as women and men, but that shouldn’t mean something is impossible. Don’t let your labels hold you back. Use them as your launchpad into something unique and great.

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