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September 28, 2015 AT 5:00 pm

Dolores Huerta – National Hispanic American Heritage Month 2015 – 9/15 to 10/2015

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Dolores Huerta – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Dolores Clara Fernández Huerta is a labor leader and civil rights activist who was an early member of the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW), and is a Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee.

You’ve probably heard of Cesar Chavez. Chavez co-founded the National Farmworkers Association, which brought together exploited farmworkers in historic strikes and protests. The “co-founded” that’s always put in that sentence refers to Dolores Huerta, without whom that National Farmworkers Association would not have existed.

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In 1955, Huerta co-founded the Stockton chapter of the Community Service Organization, (CSO) and in 1960 co-founded the Agricultural Workers Association which set up voter registration drives and pressed local governments for barrio improvements.

In 1962, she co-founded the National Farm Workers Association with César Chávez, which would later become the United Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee. In 1966, she negotiated a contract between the UFWOC and Schenley Wine Company, marking the first time that farm workers were able to effectively bargain with an agricultural enterprise. Through her work with the CSO, Huerta met César Chávez, the Executive Director of the CSO. They both soon realized the need to organize farm workers. In 1962, after the CSO turned down Chávez’s request, as their president, to organize farm workers, Chávez and Huerta resigned from the CSO. She then went to work for the National Farm Workers Association which would later merge with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to become the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee.

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In 1965, Huerta directed the UFW’s national boycott during the Delano grape strike, taking the plight of the farm workers to the consumers. The boycott resulted in the entire California table grape industry signing a three-year collective bargaining agreement with the United Farm Workers in 1970.

Huerta is president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, which she founded in 2002. The Dolores Huerta Foundation is a community benefit organization that organizes at the grassroots level, engaging and developing natural leaders. DHF creates leadership opportunities for community organizing, leadership development, civic engagement, and policy advocacy in the following priority areas: health & environment, education & youth development, and economic development.”

Huerta was named one of the three most important women of the year by Ms. Magazine in 1997. She was an inaugural recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights from President Bill Clinton in 1998. Huerta received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama on 29 May 2012.

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