Dolores C. Huerta
Dolores Huerta is president and Founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF). She is a celebrated Latina labor leader, activist and community organizer. She has worked for civil rights and social justice for over 50 years. In 1962 she and Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers union. She served as vice-president and played a critical role in many of the union’s accomplishments for four decades.
In 2002, she received the Puffin/Nation $100,000 prize for Creative Citizenship which she used to establish the Dolores Huerta Foundation. DHF connects community-based organizing to state and national movements to register and educate voters; advocate for education reform; bring about infrastructure improvements in low-income communities; advocate for greater equality for the LGBT community; and create strong leadership development.
Dolores Clara Fernandez was born on April 10, 1930 in Dawson, a mining town in the mountains of New Mexico. Her father Juan Fernández, a farm worker and miner by trade, was a union activist who ran for political office and won a seat in the New Mexico legislature in 1938. Her mother, Alicia Chavez was an independent business woman. She owned and ran a 70 room hotel. Dolores spent most of her childhood and early adult life in Stockton, California where she and her two brothers moved with their mother, following their parents’ divorce.
Huerta was married twice and had a long term relationship with Richard Chavez, the brother of César. She has 11 children and many grand and great-grandchildren. Most of her children have dedicated themselves to public service.
Dolores is a two-time US Presidential Award Recipient; she received the Medal of Freedom Award from President Obama in 2012, the highest civilian award in the United States, and the Eleanor D. Roosevelt Human Rights Award from President Clinton in 1998.
She has received many other awards including Mexico’s Order of the Aztec Eagle Award (the highest decoration awarded by the Mexican Government to foreign nationals), the James Smithson Award from the Smithsonian Institution, the Icons of the American Civil Rights Movement Award, bestowed to her in 2011 by the National Civil Rights Museum. Huerta is a U. S. Department of Labor Hall of Honor inductee and she was the first Latina inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She is a former UC Regent and has earned honorary doctorates from universities throughout the United States.