April 10th, 2022
“The one thing you have to understand is that when you’re being an activist, you are making history. We go to school so that we can learn about history and talk about history, but we also can make history. That’s what we need to do.”
In 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation declaring April 10th as an annual day of celebration in honor of Dolores Huerta.
She is undoubtedly one of the most influential and persevering labor activists and civil rights leaders of the 20th century. Dolores and César Chávez joined forces with Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz, Pete Velasco and Andy Imutan to form United Farm Workers of America, and used non-violent protest to improve legislative representation, wages and labor conditions for farmworkers and their families. She was instrumental in the enactment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, the first law of its kind in the U.S., granting farm workers in California the right to collectively organize and bargain for better wages and working conditions.
Dolores also became a champion of women’s issues and advocated for more Latinos and women in political office. She has been honored with the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and as the first Latina inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Dolores also received the Radcliffe Medal from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.
Dolores established the nonprofit Dolores Huerta Foundation to continue her work. She celebrates her 92nd birthday this year, and still makes public appearances, building on her legacy of civic engagement by training a new generation of community organizers and advocating for the working poor, women and children. Learn more.
The acclaimed documentary, Dolores, produced by Carlos Santana and Peter Bratt, shares a message of hope that her rallying cry, Sí, Se Puede, will inspire future generations to lead social change. Watch it on PBS.
People like Dolores Huerta and César Chávez devoted decades of their lives to advocate for farmworkers who work the fields to put food on America’s family table. History chronicles their struggles and accomplishments so we can learn from the past and ensure a better future.
Morgan Hill celebrated César Chávez Day on March 31st. You can watch Cesar’s Last Fast, a documentary about his life’s work, and learn about his legacy by visiting the César Chávez Foundation. César’s sister, Rita Chavez-Medina, talks about his work and positive influence in “Stories from the Past” (2019), available on-demand on the Morgan Hill Historical Society website.