Farmworker Icon Highlight: Dolores Huerta
Growing up in an era where women, let alone Hispanic women, were not expected or encouraged to achieve much, it was a fight against the grain from the jump. This created barriers that seemed impossible to break down, but not for Dolores.
Receiving an associate teaching degree in the late 40’s early 50’s was an accomplishment in itself, but there was more to achieve. Dolores would teach in the 50’s and would see how many of her students, majority of them being children of farmworkers, would be hungry. This sparked what we know best of Dolores Huerta. 1
In 1955, Dolores started her career as an activist when she co-founded the Stockton chapter of the Community Service Organization (CSO), which would lead voter registration drives and fought for economic improvements for Hispanics. What followed next would be her pivotal role in co-founding the National Farm Workers Association, what we know today as United Farm Workers.
Dolores was one of the key leaders in the Delano Grape Strike; she advocated to eliminate toxic pesticides, as well as fight for unemployment and healthcare benefits for agriculture workers. In the 70’s and 80’s, Dolores lobbied to improve farm worker’s representation in legislation. In following decades, she pushed to have more Latinos and women elected in political office and was a heavy advocate in women’s issues. 2
In recognition of her work, Dolores would receive both the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Right Award in 1998 and the Medal of Freedom in 2012.
There are many who fight for the farmworker cause, as this strong woman did, but at the end of the day, there has and will always be only one Dolores Huerta.
1 Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Dolores Huerta”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 6 Apr. 2022, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Dolores-Huerta
2 Michaels, Debra. “Dolores Huerta”. National Women’s History Museum, 2015,