Born in Glendale California, Nicolette “Niki” Smith moved to Stockton at an early age. As an adult, Smith has become strong Latina advocate in the community. She is involved in multiple organizations including the Latina Democratic Club, the Mexican Heritage Center and Gallery, she is an active member of Local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and works at Head Start.
Smith describes herself as a “lover of the arts” who served as Secretary of the Mexican Heritage Center and gallery six years ago. Today, she coordinates one of the largest events at MHC&G — “El Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Death). “Is very fulfilling to bring people together and let them showcase their art work, showcase our heritage, and the altars that are display for the event,” explained Smith.
Niki Smith highlighted the importance to be politically active — especially this year— “It is important to support the candidates that will support our needs in the community, corporations with all their money have a lot of power, the power that we have as people is our unity,” reason why Smith continuously works to inform and educate voters. “A lot of time, voters become disenfranchised about what is going on in government, we need to keep them motivated and interested because that is our voice.”
Smith`s community and political involvement is a vocation perhaps attributed to her family’s background of tireless advocates to improve the community. Among her family is her aunt and known for Chicano Movement Activist, Dolores Huerta. “I been influenced by her (Dolores Huerta) as an adult, I see her as a very power woman and figure not just for myself but for Latinas in general.” Niki Smith’s close relationship with her aunt made possible Dolores Huerta’s visit to a recent Latina Democratic club event.
Smith also served as the President of the local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) chapter for a few years. “It is very important that workers are represented” Smith explained that “as a union activist I wanted to help my fellow workers because sometimes you see that people are taking advantage of and they don’t have a strong voice as compared to the union to stand up [for their rights].”