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On March 30, Axios justice and race reporter Russell Contreras hosted one-on-one conversations with civil rights activist Dolores Huerta and Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) for the launch of the Axios Latino newsletter.

Dolores Huerta discussed immigration reform, equality for marginalized groups in America, and unpacked the history of Asian-American and Latino solidarity in labor organizing in the 1960s.

  • On how the foundations of activism remain the same: "[Social media] gives organizers a great tool to be able to bring people together. But in terms of really educating people...I think sometimes we really have to sit down and have one on one talks with people so that we can make them understand. "
  • On immigration as a cornerstone of American history: "Every single immigrant group that came to the United States got their legal status and eventually became citizens of the United States. And our first immigrants, we have to remind them, came from Europe...It's been the policy of the United States since this country was formed."

Sen. Ben Ray Luján discussed Latino representation in the federal government, the economy in New Mexico, and how the latest COVID-19 relief package will impact constituents.

  • On the American Rescue Plan on New Mexico: "Ninety-five percent of families with children in New Mexico will benefit from the new child tax credit. That's an investment in them and in their futures."
  • On Latino representation in Congress: "We have a responsibility now that we are at the table to ensure that the Latino community in the Hispanic community are not going to be left out."

Subscribe to Axios Latino.

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Luján: Diversifying New Mexico's economy will bring in more "homegrown" opportunities

New Mexico Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D) said at an Axios event Tuesday that diversifying New Mexico's economy will create "homegrown" opportunities, providing a different type of job security for workers who rely on oil and gas industries.

Why it matters: Politicians have sparred over environmental justice and its impact on workers in the oil and gas industries. But even major oil and gas producers across the U.S. are making changes now, Luján said, which means New Mexico needs to move fast about planning for the future.

Dolores Huerta: "We cannot really rest" until violence against people of color ends

Prominent labor activist Dolores Huerta said "we cannot really rest ... until we can really end the slayings of people of color," emphasizing the importance of coalition-building at an Axios event on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Hate crimes against people of color are on the rise, especially after a yearlong spike in anti-Asian hate incidents. Huerta pointed to the "constant murdering of Black people" as well as the mass shootings in El Paso, Pittsburgh and most recently Georgia, saying that "this has to end."

Top Republicans form new group to fight Biden tax hikes

Marc Short at the White House in March 2020. (Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Top GOP operatives have formed a group to fight President Biden's plans to raise taxes to pay for his expected $3 trillion-plus infrastructure package.

Why it matters: The Coalition to Protect American Workers is the first major conservative group formed exclusively to block Biden's tax agenda. Its leaders include Marc Short, who was former Vice President Pence's chief of staff.