Dolores Huerta was the Keynote Speaker for Women’s History Month at Oakton Community College. She was born on April 10, 1930 and is an American labor leader and civil rights activist who was the co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association. It later became the United Farm Workers (UFW). She helped organize the Delano grape strike that took place in 1965 in California. She was also the lead negotiator in the workers’ contract that was created after the strike. At 6:30 PM on the Des Plaines Campus of Oakton Community College in the TenHoeve Center, Dolores Huerta came to speak.
It was an amazing moment, a moment when I felt as if I was a part of history.
MK and I had gone early, expecting a large crowd and we were told to be there at least half an hour early because of it. We left around 4:30 so we were about an hour and a half early and we brought our books. We sat in the second row and ended up right behind Oakton’s President, Dr. Joianne Shortz Smith and Dolores Huerta. Dr. Smith turned around and introduced us and we shook Dolores’ hand. It was a wonderful moment as this amazingly strong and powerful woman exuded total humanity and overpowered us with her kindness and caring.
Dolores is going to be 88 this year and has some eleven children. She has received multiple awards and her whole concept of work is simple, the age old, “Teach someone how to do something as opposed to just giving something.”
MK put this on her Facebook page and this says it all:
This is Dolores Huerta. She and Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers in 1962. Remember the grape boycott? Last night Rich and I heard her speak and had the honor of meeting her. She gave us all hope that through activism and VOTING we can change our country for the good. 87 years old, mother of 11, social activist, winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom! Her dignity and respect for every human being were evident in every word she spoke. I personally thanked her for the fact that she and Cesar Chavez were the first ones to spark a sense of social justice in me. Isn’t she a wonderful example for our children and grandchildren?
In this sea of sadness as we navigate through the nightmare of a government that is clearly out of touch with reality and the needs of its people, it is clear to us that as Dolores put it, we have the power, all we have to do is exercise that power and vote. ¡Sí, se puede!
On Tuesday, March 6th on the Des Plaines Campus of Oakton and also on Wednesday, March 7th on the Skokie Campus at 6:30 PM, there will be a film screening followed by a discussion of the film entitled: ‘Dolores Rebel. Activist. Feminist. Mother. It is directed by Peter Bratt and is a Carlos Santana Production.