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She Has 15 Honorary Doctorates And A Presidential Medal of Freedom, And She Made Sure That Farm Workers Got Better Working Conditions As Well As Wages

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Staying up to date on today’s activists is important, as many of them have already changed the world in some way.

If you don’t know about Dolores Huerta, one of the most influential labor activists of the 1950s and beyond, this is her story.

Dolores was born in New Mexico in 1930. Her father was a mine worker who eventually became a state legislator, and her mother raised her and her siblings while working multiple jobs.

As Dolores got older, she got her associate teaching degree from the University of the Pacific’s Delta College. While still a student, she married and had two daughters. After divorcing and eventually marrying her second husband, Ventura Huerta, she had five more children.

Dolores was a school teacher in the 1950s and taught in an area where many of her students were children of migrant farm workers. She often witnessed them coming to school hungry and in poor shape, as during this time, migrant farm workers were being paid hardly anything, despite all the labor they were doing.

Sick of seeing these children in such despair, Dolores dedicated her life to giving these farm workers a voice and organizing them.

In 1955, Dolores began her long journey of activism by co-founding the Stockton chapter of the Community Service Organization. The organization helped Hispanic communities register to vote and fought for better pay. She was introduced to César Chávez, another famous labor leader and activist, through a mutual associate of the organization.

Alongside César, she co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) in 1962 and the United Farm Workers’ Union (UFW) in 1965.

Through peaceful protests, marches, consumer boycotts, and other events, Dolores, César, and members of the UFW demanded more attention toward getting higher wages and better working conditions for farm workers who work hard to feed the nation. It is still considered one of the most impactful labor unions in the United States today.

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