Dolores Huerta’s Support of the Campaign
Dolores Huerta, a Symbol of the Labor/Feminist Movements, Who Shouted Out her Demands
By: Azadeh Faramaziha
Sunday 24 August 2008
Translated by: SZ
Change for Equality: Demands are important. Having demands or having the ability to pose demands is what brings people together or even makes them akin. When you pose your demands, you can think of yourself as part of thousands and thousands who are striving for their demands in different ways no matter how difficult it may be. You can think of yourself as one of the comrades of Dolores Huerta who makes demands and knows no limits or boundaries for her demands.
Dolores Huerta is a symbol of labor/feminist demands. During the final years of the 60’s, she decided to pose her demands or to shout them out so that no ears would be capable of not hearing them. She is the founder of the Agricultural Workers’ Association and the Dolores Huerta Foundation for Labor, Women and Youth, one of the senior members of the Feminist Majority Foundation, a teacher, a nurse, social activist, labor activist, an activist working on Hispanic-American police officers’ issues and one of the one hundred prominent women of the twentieth century and…..
Dolores Huerta was born to Latino parents in New Mexico in 1930. Her parents divorced when she was still very young. She lived with her mother who ran a small motel and restaurant in an area populated by laborers. This motel housed the families of the farm laborers. She thus became familiar with this social class and their problems and issues. Her father was also a miner and she got to see her father every now and then.
Her involvement with workers’ rights started in the mid-sixties as a result of meeting Caesar Chavez. She started working as a secretary at a labor union and with Chavez’s help she was able to start the National Farm Workers’ Association. This association was a starting point for United Farm Workers which is regarded as one of the most important organizations advocating for the rights of the migrant workers in the United States. The most important achievement of this association was in the years 1968-1969 in organizing the workers strike to lower the price of grapes. Its success in convincing the government was the first positive step taken by this organization which attracted the attention of the workers and increased Dolores’s credibility among them. During the course of these events Dolores Huerta familiarized herself with feminist groups and organizations and endeavored to make extensive connections with other social activists to gain their support in advancing her political-social goals. She has been arrested 22 times because of her activities and taking part in meetings, gatherings and peaceful strikes.
In 1988, Dolores Huerta was beaten by the San Francisco police while peacefully protesting against the candidacy of the senior George Bush. She suffered severe back injuries and had to have several surgeries as a result of that. This incident was filmed by reporters and was shown on local TV stations in San Francisco. This gave Huerta the evidence needed to sue the San Francisco Police Department and to criticize the police and hold them accountable. She has always opposed the Republicans and considers them anti-Latino. She is now a supporter of Hillary Clinton who is (was) one of the Democratic Party presidential hopefuls in the U.S. Dolores Huerta has also won many awards for her labor/feminist activities: In May 2006, Princeton University gave her a special award for being a creative, dedicated and responsible citizen. International Christian Peace Society presented its 2007 award jointly to Huerta and Virgilio Alizando. Huerta is also an honorary member of the American Social Democrats.
The U.S. House of Representatives has also honored her as a social and labor activist who has succeeded in improving the working and living conditions of the workers as well as the rights of women and children. Ms Magazine named her as one of the 100 most influential women of the 20th Century, and in 1998 it also named her as one of the three most prominent women of the year.
The foundation that the 77 year old established and named after herself is presently one of the most important social organizations in the U.S. It consists of about 51 civic organizations which are active in various aspects of workers, women and youth issues.
Dolores has married twice and has 11 children. Her close friends say that her extensive activities have never negatively impacted her relationship with her children and everyone thinks of her as a loving and dedicated mother.