Dolores Huerta

by Ruth from Napa

Dolores Huerta
Dolores Huerta

We categorize a hero as someone who is brave, courageous, and someone who does selfless deeds not expecting anything in return. And Dolores Huerta was the perfect person that fits these qualifications. For decades she fought alongside Cesar Chavez, a civil rights leader. She fought for equal treatment and pay for minorities such as the Hispanics and the Filipinos.

Dolores Huerta was born in New Mexico on April 1, 1930. She was the daughter of a hard worker and a former union activist, Juan Fernandez and Alicia Chavez, restaurant owners. Dolores had two brothers and two sisters, but at an early age they faced family difficulties and her parents divorced. Soon after they relocated and moved to San Joaquin Valley, California.

Huerta's role model was her mother. She saw in her mother care and bravery. Because of such a great role model she pursued university and received her teaching degree but that didn't fulfill Huerta. She wanted to help the entire community, she sometimes felt empathy for others and the difficult lifestyles they were forced to face.

For several years, around 1995, she dedicated efforts on fighting against segregation and discrimination alongside with the Stockton Chapter of Community Service Organization (CSO). She soon realized that agricultural workers also needed help and soon than later she created he Agricultural Workers Association (1960). In this organization they provided workshops and assistance for those that wanted to apply for citizenship and other needs. Dolores Huerta met her soon-to-be long life friend and co-worker, Cesar Chavez. They both shared the same beliefs and moral values and agreed to step away from CSO and created the National Farm Workers Association(1965) in Delano, California.

As stated earlier, the Hispanics were not the only race in need, the Filipino workers were eager to receive help from the National Farm Workers Association. The Filipinos were determined to boycott against the grape industry and in 1966 both ethnic groups joined and created the United Farm Workers Organization Committee. They sought for equal treatment, sanitation and reasonable pay. Employers were spraying toxic pesticides into the crops while farmers were working. This act was clearly not healthy. Another issue they faced were things such as no restrooms. Women were forced to urinate behind bushes and employers ignored the fact that everyone was entitled to a break and a restroom. A significant issue which left a precedent for future generations, was the lack of pay. Farmers were paid the minimum amount which was a ludicrous amount which made it impossible to sustain families. The population, including politicians, noticed the importance of respecting workers and the government soon enforced laws which protected workers and unions.

Dolores continued fighting for human rights and she traveled around the country trying to inform the nation of workers issues. But our group isn't the only one that notices her hard work - in her honor they named four schools in her name. She also received the Eleanor Roosevelt Humans Rights Award from President Clinton. In 1997 she was awarded one of the most important women. And she was also admitted into the National Woman's Hall of Fame.

As you can seen Dolores Huerta was a true hero. She inspired many including us. Throughout her lifetime she expressed care, love, respect, selfless deeds and unity. She helped hundreds of underprivileged minorities and made a difference in everyone's lives.

Page created on 6/17/2010 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 6/17/2010 12:00:00 AM