Civil rights activist continues her fight for equality

By Paul Medina

At 91 years old Dolores Huerta continues to fight for those who are taken advantage of. 

Huerta who is a labor and civil rights activist is best known for dedicating her life to improve the conditions of migrant workers throughout the United States.

Alongside labor leader Cesar E. Chavez, Huerta co-founded the National Farm Workers Association which went on to merge with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee and then became the United Farm Workers of America. 

The UFW is a labor union of farm workers best known for leading many strikes in Central California including the Delano Grape Strike which demanded better wages and working conditions for migrant workers.

Huerta was born on April 10, 1930, in the mining town of Dawson, New Mexico to Mexican-American parents. Her father was a union activist and was later elected to the New Mexico Legislature. 

After her parents divorced her mother relocated the family to Stockton California, according to the Dolores Huerta Foundation website.

Huerta would go on to graduate from Stockton High School and San Joaquin Delta College where she earned a teaching credential. 

Huerta began her activism with the Stockton Community Service Organization where she first met Chavez, who later helped run the UFW.

A decade later Huerta was influential in passing California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act, it was the first of its kind in the nation which allowed farm workers to collectively bargain with their employers, according to the state of California legislative information website.

Throughout her life, Huerta continued with activism. 

She co-founded a UFW radio station and continues with her advocacy for better working conditions for farm workers and on immigration policy reform, according to her profile on Britannica.

The Dolores Huerta Foundation was founded in 2002. 

According to its website the foundation serves the purpose “to inspire and organize communities to build volunteer organizations empowered to pursue social justice. 

DHF organizes at the grassroots level developing natural leaders with hands-on training through collective action.”

Huerta would go on to receive many honors for her lifetime commitment to service. 

Some honors and accolades include being inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack in 2011.

In 2021 Governor Gavin Newsom signed a proclamation designating her birthday April 10, Dolores Huerta Day. 

In 2019 the Los Angeles City Council renamed and dedicated a Boyle Heights intersection in her honor. 

The Los Angeles Community College District in 2007 established the Dolores Huerta Labor Institute which works with faculty to educate LACCD students on labor history.

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