Mexican-American presence and activism in the United States is one that is full of strong and independent leaders that have fought for what they believed in. Dolores Huerta, a Latina from New Mexico, was born April 30, 1920. She is historically one of the most important female role models for Latinas in the United States. She is a woman that understands the power of education and is passionate about helping people like her. She has dedicated her entire life to the service of others who are less fortunate and is one of the leading civil rights activists of her time.
Dolores, at a very young age, was active in the community and was part of the Girl Scouts. Understanding the importance of education, Dolores attended the University of Pacific’s Stockton College and then transferred to San Joaquin’s Delta Community College. After a few short years, she received her degree and became a grammar teacher to young children. She soon realized that the children that she was teaching needed much more help than she could give inside of the classroom. She saw Mexican-American families who struggled with their jobs as they were paid unfairly. She saw children going home to families that could barely feed their children. She saw that there was a need for someone to represent the needs of Hispanic families and children living in the United States during that time. She realized that she needed to help in a much bigger way.
Dolores Huerta quit her job as a teacher and soon became a key figure in the civil rights movement working for farm worker rights by helping create the United Farm Workers of America. This organization, that still exists today, serves as way for workers to come together to be able to discuss issues and problems that they face on a daily basis. Together with her co-founder, César Chávez, she fought for the rights of farm workers and made sure that they were paid fairly, had better working conditions and were treated equally. She organized non-violent rallies and protests to try and get her voice heard about the issues facing farmworkers and was successful in helping pass many laws that would help farmworkers in the United States.
Dolores Huerta has become one of the leading voices to fight for the rights of Mexican immigrants and the equal rights for women. She is now a very strong supporter of immigration reform and works very hard to encourage women to take stronger roles of leadership and activism within their communities. She constantly encourages the Latino population in the United States to vote and firmly believes in change. She is a great example of a strong Latina who realized her dreams of making positive change in her community through hard work, dedication and determination.