Dolores Huerta is a union leader and an activist for the rights of farm workers and women. Along with Cesar Chavez, she founded the first successful farm workers union in the country, the United Farm Workers, in 1962. She is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Huerta was born in New Mexico in 1930, where her father was a union activist and state legislator. Following her parents divorce, Dolores moved with her mother to California’s farm-filled San Joaquin Valley. She was inspired to fight for workers rights when, as a young school teacher, she noticed that many of her students were showing up to school ill or malnourished. “I thought I could do more by organizing farm workers than teaching their hungry children,” she says.
To further her cause, she founded the Agricultural Workers Association in 1960 and used the organization to lobby politicians on a variety of issues pertaining to the rights of migrant workers. She left the AWA just two years later, when she and Cesar Chavez founded what would come to be known as the United Farm Workers union.
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