Our new Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, may be my new political superhero. I’m in the middle of fact-checking a story on her for the next issue of the magazine, and I’m reading the transcripts of her confirmation hearings and then her swearing in ceremony… and I just… started crying. I was so touched and so moved by her story and her passion and her unwavering dedication to fighting for the everyday worker… for working families.. for the right for all workers to unionize… for workers benefits. Everything she talks about – from feeling so privileged and blessed to having made it through college with federal loans and grants to her background growing up with working-class parents. She forced her dreams to come true – fought through the bureaucracy and the disadvantages of her socioeconomic class. I’m so excited to see what she’ll do for women, for people, in this position. I just… gah. I’ll stop blabbing and post part of the speech. These are excerpts from her speech after she took the oath:
I could not have gone to college without the help of those who fought for our civil rights and the right for underrepresented people to attend the university.
And I want to underscore how important the financial aid – the federal financial aid – system was and is today.
And how important the Pell grant, the guaranteed student loans, work study programs, all those programs, that helped me get my education and I know those programs continue to help provide the support for so many million, million of Americans.
So many experiences have helped to shape my life to prepare me for this moment.
I have visited fields and factories.
I have even walked picket lines.
And I have talked to and listened to not just those who work in offices during the day, but also those who clean the offices at night.
Many people have educated me, mentored me, and inspired me: From Martin Luther King Jr., who sparked my deep commitment to civil and human rights, to Cesar Chavez, who inspired the world with simply saying: “Si Se Puede!”
I am a product – and I’m proud of this – of the women’s movement, the labor movement, the environmental movement and the social justice movement.
And the fact that I am standing before you today as a child of an immigrant family, a working family, is proof that in America, anything is possible.