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A Conversation With Civil-Rights Leader Dolores Huerta

A Conversation With Civil Rights Leader Dolores Huerta


Dolores Huerta, Co-founder, United Farm Workers


Latino elected officials from across the state and the nation are gathering in San Diego this week for the 31st annual National Association of Latino Elected Officials conference, which continues through Saturday. One of the speakers at the event is legendary civil-rights leader Dolores Huerta.

Huerta co-founded the United Farm Workers in 1962 along with the late labor leader Cesar Chavez. It was a long battle, that took marches, boycotts, arrests and beatings but it successfully changed working conditions for many of the people who grow our food.

“One of the first things we did … was to register people to vote and then we would go door to door," Huerta told KPBS Midday Edition. "And going door to door, I would go to some of the homes of some of these farmworkers and saw the extreme poverty they were living in, to the point where they had no furniture, they had cardboard boxes or orange crates for furniture. There were homes that had no type of linoleum or wood on the floor, just dirt floors, and you could see the children were malnourished.

"Seeing these conditions and yet knowing these farmworkers worked so very hard out there in those fields and those orchards, this is what really moved me to say ‘No, this is wrong. We’ve got to do something to change this,’” she said.

Her work as an activist and advocate for the Latino community and the poor has been recognized with many awards, including the Medal of Freedom.

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