Political activist Dolores Huerta to lecture in Social Justice series

If you haven’t visited Sonoma State’s Student Center Ballroom yet, you have a chance to enjoy an evening with activist and union leader Dolores Huerta on Thursday, March 27. 

Huerta will be sharing her journey, achievements, and the foundations of community service that she does. The event will be hosted by the School of Education in partnership with Sonoma State University’s School of Social Sciences and On Campus Presents, as part of the H. Andrea Neves and Barton Evans Social Justice Lecture Series. 

It starts at 7:30 p.m. and the tickets are on sale now at the Information Desk in the Student Center or online at the box office webpage. General admission is $10, senior citizens are $5, and Sonoma State students and Sonoma State faculty members are free, but they are required to reserve a ticket. Faculty members can receive their tickets from Erik Dickson by contacting him at dickson@sonoma.edu.

Huerta initially began involving herself in the community during high school. She joined multiple school clubs, was a majorette, and a Girl Scout until she turned 18. Most of her involvement in the community was reflected from her mother. Huerta’s mother was involved in her community as well as being active in civic organizations. 

Huerta began teaching once she graduated college and she saw the children come to school with ratty clothes and appeared mal-nourished, she decided that her true calling was to change the problems of economic justice.

Huerta began to make small changes by joining the Stockton Community Service Organization more than 50 years ago in Stockton, where she is from. Through the organization she found Agricultural Workers Association which focused in on the work that farm workers were doing in the field. She found a common ground with associate Cesar E. Chavez, and together they created the National Farmers’ Association, also known as the United Farm Workers. 

Huerta wanted to change the way that farmers were treated by the government so she negotiated to secure aid for dependent families and disability insurance for farm workers in California. In 1975 she helped stabilize the Agricultural Labor Relations Act that granted farm workers in California the right to collectively organize and bargain for better wages and working conditions. 

Huerta was recognized as a visible spokesperson in many political elections; she was acknowledged by Robert F. Kennedy for helping Kennedy win the 1968 California Democratic Presidential Primary election. She has been involved politically by helping elect many candidates such as former President Bill Clinton, Congressman Ron Dellums, Governor Jerry Brown, Congresswoman Hilda Solis, and Hillary Clinton. Huerta is also famous for directing the National Boycott of California Table Grapes out of New York. 

She is also an advocate for women’s rights and active in the feminist movement. She is particularly involved in the fight against discrimination towards women in farm work. 

At 58 years old Huerta was assaulted by an officer who broke her ribs and her spleen in San Francisco. This incident instigated change among policies about police discipline and crowd control. After recovering, Huerta focused more on women’s rights and encouraged women to run for office. This caused a big increase in of the number of female representatives in local, state and federal government.

Huerta is now 81 years old and continues to work and advocate for women, the poor, and children. She is still an active member of the organizations that she has created and encourages people to join and help advocate with her. She is still a spokesperson for these organizations and you can find her events listed at doloreshuerta.org.