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LatinXcellence: Dolores Huerta

LatinXcellence: Dolores Huerta
LatinXcellence: Dolores Huerta

Video: LatinXcellence: Dolores Huerta

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Video: Dolores Huerta is the fearless labor activist who coined the positive protest slogan 'si se puede' 2023, January
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Here at People CHICA we celebrate our Latinidad 365 days a year, but during Latinx Heritage Month, we go extra hard. Established in 1988, Latinx Heritage Month recognizes the generations of Latinx Americans who have positively influenced and enhanced our society. All month long, we'll be celebrating with a series called #LatinXcellence, highlighting women who are making a difference in Latinx culture today through their art, work and activism.

Dolores Huerta's mission in life is to fight for justice. At 89 years old, the Mexican American labor leader and civil rights activist continues to raise her voice to defend immigrants and to motivate Latinos to vote. Yes you can ! - yes, we can! - is the motto of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, “which recruits, trains, organizes, and empowers grassroots leaders in low-income communities to attain social justice through systemic and structural transformation.” Through the neighborhood organization Vecinos Unidos (United Neighbors), they also help residents of Latinx immigrant and low-income communities.

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Huerta was born in New Mexico and grew up in California. When she was a child her father worked as a coal miner and later became a farmer, while her mother was a hardworking hotel owner who welcomed low-wage workers and always showed compassion. She began her path as a teacher and felt outrage and heartbreak when her students would show up at school barefoot and hungry. That fueled her lifelong mission to fight economic injustice. She has also left her mark advocating for non-violence and defending the rights of women and children.

She started out as an organizer at Stockton Community Service Organization, founding the Agricultural Workers Association, pushing voter registration and demanding local governments to improve Latinx barrios. She also joined forces with labor leader and civil rights activist César E. Chávez, co-founding the National Farm Workers Association to help farm workers fight for fair wages and a better quality of life.

Her contributions have earned her numerous humanitarian awards. In 2012, President Barack Obama honored her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. "The freedom of association means that people can come together in organization to fight for solutions to the problems they confront in their communities," she said in her acceptance speech. “The great social justice changes in our country have happened when people came together, organized, and took direct action. It is this right that sustains and nurtures our democracy today. The civil rights movement, the labor movement, the women's movement, and the equality movement for our LGBT brothers and sisters are all manifestations of these rights. I thank President Obama for raising the importance of organizing to the highest level of merit and honor.”

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