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Documentary Chronicles Life And Work Of Civil Rights Leader Dolores Huerta

September 25, 2017 1:12 p.m.

Documentary Chronicles Life And Work Of Civil Rights Leader Dolores Huerta


Dolores Huerta, civil rights activist

Related Story: Documentary Chronicles Life And Work Of Civil Rights Leader Dolores Huerta


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

This is KPBS Midday Edition. I am Maureen Cavanaugh. A new documentary about the life and work of civil right activist Dolores is playing as we get the can cinema. Cofounder of the United farmworkers in the 1960s. Spent more than 60 years working and organizing for social change she is touring the country with the new documentary about her life. And visited San Diego for the opening of the film last week. She took time out to sit down with us the kepi -- KPBS studio .Welcome.I am happy to be here.Your lifework has revolved around organizing people for political and social action. What kind of action do you think people should be taking today?We need people to get involved in the level. School board level, city Council level state representatives in Congress often when I speak to a group of students. For community people. I will ask how many of you know the name of your congressperson? And maybe five people will say yes. My your representative on the city Council? Maybe one person. And we need to get involved at every level. The people that we elect make the decisions that will affect our lives. And I think it is incumbent upon all of us that we know what is going on in our world. Especially when it comes to the national issues. Congressman presidency.Your activism started long before the strike. What ignited your spark?I had the good fortune of going to a house meeting with a great human being led -- he showed pictures of things he had done. He showed me a picture of a meeting with 100 people. And talk about streetlights and sidewalks. Clinics into East Los Angeles. And showed us what was sent -- [ Indiscernible ]. Anyone who can do that. I want to belong to that organization. And this is something that I have always wanted. I was a Girl Scout for 10 years. A lot of social organizations none of those organizations make policy changes. If you can make policy changes, and within ordinary people, that to me is magic.Just about everyone knows the name of Caesar Chavez, cofounder of the farmworkers, your name is less widely known. Does that bother you?Not really. I don't do it for recognition. You do the work when you try to achieve goals to make life better for people. You are not thinking of doing it for history say, but the one thing I would add. I think as women, we are so often ready to give up our work, and not to be present -- to get recognition for what we do. And I came to that realization. A part in the movie showing signing contracts with the [ Indiscernible ]. I organized a boycott. I came back to do a negotiation and I'm not in the picture. And the reason is because just before as we were sitting down getting ready for this Mr. moment, signing contracts, [ Indiscernible ] Vice President came and said Dolores do you mind if I sit we are sitting? And I said of course it down. And having the presence of mind as women that we need to be visible. Especially when it comes to work with Don. So as women we need to be conscious. We are not tuned to the fact that we need to be visible.One thing you came up with is the slope that President Obama turned into yes we can. How do you feel when you hear that now? Mac I feel very proud. In spring they have [ Indiscernible ].How involved were you in the making of the documentary Dolores?When they called and said they wanted to do this spell, -- film. Had you say no? You don't. That was about the extent of my involvement. They interviewed me a few times. Much of the at documentary is archival. To me it was like watching something brand-new.Do you like the film?Yes I do. It's not only historical but entertaining and relevant about what is going on to today's world. There are so many messages in that movie, and alliance -- Senator Robert Kennedy. And just before he was killed. The last words he made to the American public, I will paraphrase, he says something like, we have a responsibility to our fellow citizens. I thought, this -- the last public words before assassinated. And it is a reminder to everyone. We live in a democracy. But if we do not get engaged are involved, we are not doing and taking our responsibility as citizens of the country. We are not making our democracy work. Democracy is about every person being involved. And informed about what is going on.This Hispanic heritage month coincides with an dreamers. I am wondering what advice you have for those who do want to see immigration reform legislation. In the dream act passed in Congress.I think the dreamer act will pass in a congressional support for. Eventually we can get immigration before. We need to get engaged in me to vote. We need to bill our old wall of resistance. And making sure we get to handle the legislation needed.Do you see this in a sense is a call to action?Yes absolutely. Like a crazy woman I'm following it. Just to say to people that you need to get involved and be engaged.Civil rights activists on the subject of a new documentary Dolores. It has been in our our honor to speak with you.And putting the word out. Folks you need to get involved.I am Maureen Cavanaugh, thank you for listening.