On May 29, President Barack Obama awarded the highest medal of honor to labor activist Dolores Huerta, 82. The medal is awarded to individuals who have contributed towards creating notable changes for the better of the United States or in the world. Dolores told the Daily Beast that she was humbled and surprised. She stated, “I never expected to be nominated.”
Huerta, along with Cesar Chavez, was the co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association in the early 1960s. Fed up with the harsh labor conditions, farm workers, many whom were immigrants, of Delano, California fought for fair wages and better working conditions. Farm workers led many hunger strikes, boycotts and protests in order to attain their demands.
Daughter of a farm worker, Huerta grew up in Stockton, California. Her organizing for labor rights helped the California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975 pass.
The United Farm Workers movement has been a key influence in many other movements such as El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan (MEChA) and helped give birth to Chicana/o theatre through the formation of El Teatro Campesino led by Luis Alvarez.
Having faced many challenges, scarifies and struggles in order to help the cause Huerta is often the face of many images and posters in support of social justice causes. Glamour Magazine even payed homage to Huerta during their 70th issue celebration by having America Ferrera pose as Huerta during a march.
Huerta is one of the few Latina activists recognized for her strength, courage and love for her struggle.