Dolores Huerta: The woman who said 'Yes we can' to latino's rights

Improving the working conditions of Mexican farmers in 1955, was the starting point of their struggle for the rights of Latinos in the United States

Dolores Huerta: The woman who said 'Yes we can' to latino's rights

Age 88, Dolores Huerta is a symbol of the struggle for the rights of the Latino community in the United States. In fact, Peter Pratt, director of the documentary "Dolores", which featured the production of musician Carlos Santana, in which he paid tribute to his life and work, came to compare it in an interview for the New York Daily News, with leaders such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Robert Keneddy Jr.

Leer en español: Dolores Huerta: La mujer que le dijo "Sí, se puede" a los latinos

"Everyone wants to hug her, kiss her, take pictures", highlights El País of Spain about the people who went to meet her after the presentation of the documentary "Dolores", in Mexico City, last August. For "many with families in the United States in an irregular situation, Huerta represents consolation and hope," says the Spanish newspaper. But what were the contributions of Dolores Huerta to the Latino community in the US? Let's see:



1955 - 1960, the beginning of his struggle

The misery in which the children lived, the children of Mexican agricultural workers, to whom Huerta taught them in a rural school in Stockton, California, led her to fight for the rights of agricultural workers who came to the US through of the Braceros Program. Which "allowed US agricultural producers to hire Mexican workers at very low cost and keep them in slave conditions," says Huerta in an interview with the non-profit organization, Apro. At that time, she co-founded a section of the Community Service Organization, an association that is charged with defending the civil rights of Latinos in California.

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In an interview with the US chain The Nation, Huertas explains that her disagreement was that the 90 cents per hour and 10 cents that the grape harvesters received, were not reflected in their working conditions, child labor and use. massive pesticide, which barely gave them a life expectancy close to 49 years. Also, in 1960, Huertas again co-founded a section, but this time the Agricultural Workers' Association (AWA), in which "carried out initiatives for voter registration and neighborhood improvements", Washington Post account.


The most powerful union in the United States

After his contributions to the agricultural workers, mostly Mexican, Huertas meets the activist Cesar Chavez, and together created, in 1962, the National Association of Rural Workers, later years converted into the Union of Agricultural Workers of United States (UFW, for its acronym in English). "The most powerful union in the United States" , highlights the Washington Post.

For example, in 1965, Huerta, taking advantage of the claims of the Philippine Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), which demanded higher wages from a grape company, managed to unite 5,000 workers who walked out of their jobs as an act. of reclamation to the companies producing of grape. This was known as the "Delano Grape Strike" and, as a result of that demonstration, Huerta negotiated a first contract between the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC) or (the committee of United peasants who organize ), and the Schenley Wine Company, (Schenley wine company), according to the UFW website.

Later, she continued negotiating more contracts with other companies that "established the first health plans and benefits for the farmers", as well as the elimination of the use of dangerous pesticides such as DDT and Parathion, highlights the UFW website. For 1970, after 5 years of strike, the union that started with 5,000, reached 50,000, becoming the largest in California and making the grape producing companies agree to improve wages, working conditions of Latino immigrants and other nations


"Yes We Can"

The famous "Yes We Can", which Barack Obama used as a slogan that contributed greatly to winning the US presidency in 2008, were the words that Dolores Huerta told the agricultural peasants that They lost hope for improving their working conditions during the 5 years of the strike. Obama himself recognized Huerta who used his words and in 2012 he was awarded the Freedom medal, says El País of Spain.



Dolores Huerta against Trump

Due to the strong immigration policy of Trump, Dolores Huerta, "continues to inspire and organize people of all ages to fight for their rights in the neighborhood, in the city, in the States," says El País. "She loves dreamers because they are the future and he recognizes that it is a difficult time to work without papers, that is why she is in charge of giving workshops since his foundation about what to do if one day ICE stops you (the US immigration police)," he adds.


LatinAmerican Post | Edwin Gustavo Guerrero Nova

Translated from: 'Dolores Huerta: La mujer que luchó por los derechos de los latinos'