Born in 1930, Dolores Huerta is a labor and civil rights activist, mother of 11 children, and Latina icon.
She co-founded the United Farm Workers Union along with César Chávez, brought women into the labor movement, and challenged sexism and racism. She also negotiated the first successful collective bargaining agreement by agricultural laborers in 1966.
Despite her achievements, Dolores experienced the racism many Mexicans and Mexican Americans suffered from, especially those who were farm workers. At school she was sometimes treated with suspicion and scorn. She was once accused by a teacher of stealing another student’s work because the teacher was convinced that Dolores was incapable, due to her ethnic origin.
Dolores Huerta has been honored for her work as a fierce advocate for farm workers, immigration and women. She received the Ellis Island Medal of Freedom Award and was inducted in the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993. That year proved bitter-sweet for her as she also experienced the passing of her beloved friend Cesar Chavez. In 1998, she received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award, a year before she stepped down from her position at the United Farm Workers. In 2002, she received the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship. The $100,000 award provided her the means to create the Dolores Huerta Foundation, whose purpose is to bring organizing and training skills to low-income communities.
Huerta continues to lecture and speak out on a variety of social issues involving immigration, income inequality and the rights of women and Latinos.