The Neglected Legend of Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta, a largely unsung hero in the fight for farmworkers’ rights, is the subject of the new movie, Dolores, that recounts her life as a feminist and union organizer, reports Dennis J Bernstein and Miguel Gavilan Molina.

By Dennis J Bernstein and Miguel Gavilan Molina

Peter Bratt’s new film Dolores, about the life and times of United Farm Workers Co-Founder Dolores Huerta, shows the work of a woman who was way ahead of her time and whose work is right on time for the struggles that working people and all common folks are facing in the age of Donald Trump.

Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers and a longtime activist for social justice.

The filmmaker reminds us in a synopsis of the film, “Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez. …

“Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century — and she continues the fight to this day, at 87.”

I interviewed Dolores Huerta and filmmaker-director Peter Bratt on September 5. Joining me for the Flashpoints Radio interview was the show’s Senior Producer, Miguel Gavilan Molina, an old friend of Huerta, who learned about the United Farm Workers as a child farm worker in “the fields of toil.” The film is currently showing in selected theaters across the country.

Dennis Bernstein: Dolores Huerta, […] I know you want to be out at that rally today [Sept. 5] protesting. We have just seen that President Trump has rescinded DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], a terrible decision that hurts these kids and their families in so many different ways.

On the same day we hear that some Dreamers were actually killed trying to save people in Houston, a city with roughly 600,000 undocumented people who don’t know whether to seek shelter or hide from the people who are supposed to provide that shelter.

DH: What they are saying is that they are going to shoot it over to Congress, in an interesting ploy. Jeff Sessions said that Obama had overextended his authority and had not gone to Congress to get the necessary authority. But actually, throughout history, presidents have made decisions about immigration without going to Congress.

In the next election, every single Congressperson in the House of Representatives has to run for office and because of actions like the recent pardoning of Arpaio, many Latinos are going to be organizing to take out Republicans. So maybe they are going to try to buy favors with the Dreamers.

DB: Sessions talks about the rule of law but here is a man who has literally made a career of trying to prevent people from voting.

DH: Well, if we all get involved we can take a lot of these Republicans out. We have to build our own wall, a wall of resistance. We have to get justice not only for the Dreamers but for the entire undocumented community.

DB: Amidst all of this, there was a victory in Arizona when a federal judge decided that the ethnic studies program there was a successful, important program that the kids in Tucson deserved to have. The racists there used you as an excuse for cancelling the program.

DH: I think we have to introduce ethnic studies programs into our kindergartens. People are not aware of the contributions to this country made by people of color. Unless we erase the ignorance and the bigotry and the misogyny and the homophobia, we are going to continue to be a country in distress. Children of color are made to feel like second-class citizens while white children feel this sense of entitlement because they have been taught that their ancestors did it all.

DB: They accuse you of hating white people.

DH: We don’t hate anybody. We are a movement of love and justice and we are trying to reach those with hatred in their hearts so that they can join us in making a better world.

The logo of the United Farm Workers of America.

DB: Miguel, how did you first meet Dolores?

Miguel Gavilan Molina: Marching. When I was twelve years old, my tio and a couple of his compadres drove down in 1966 to Delano. I didn’t know what was going on but I saw that red flag and I saw hundreds of brown Mexicans and no one was looking at the ground! Nobody was beat down from the weight of being poor, of being out there in the fields of misery.

I learned that, first of all, we were human beings, not just farm animals with no rights. I remember working in the fields and running, whenever airplanes flew over. But after that day, we didn’t do that anymore. And then every time I heard that Dolores was going to be in the area, I brought our car club to the marches–to Sacramento, to San Francisco, to San Jose.

Dolores was the grandmother of the Chicano movement, she empowered all of us. She gave a voice to Chicanismo and also empowered la mujer. My mother was empowered by seeing, for the first time, a brown woman, a Mexicana, speaking for all of us.

DB: Did you think of yourself as a woman out there fighting? Was it daunting? Did people try to stop you?

DH: Fred Ross, Sr., who organized Cesar [Chavez] and myself, taught us that if you can talk to a few people at a time, you are reminding them that they have power to change things in their lives. When you bring them together at house meetings, they look at each other and say, “hey, we do have that power.”

DB: In the movie, Cesar Chavez was asked why he chose you to work with him and his answer was “faith, drive, skills, knowledge and willingness to sacrifice.” What was it that drove you?

DH: When people understand that this political world is their world also, they realize that they can participate in that world, can make changes that affect them and their family.

DB: How could you be a mother, an organizer, an activist, a writer of legislation, all at the same time?

DH: You find out what kind of help you need. Like Fred Ross would tell us all the time, you don’t have to have all of the answers because along the journey the answers will come to you.

MGM: Going back to the battle for ethnic studies in Arizona, you made a statement that brought the situation to a national level. You said, “Our existence is our resistance.”

DH: I was lucky to be born in the state of New Mexico. My grandfather would tell me the stories about how they took that land from Mexico and how they were treated because they were Hispanics. People want to build a wall? Let’s use the 1848 map.

MGM: One of the things covered in the film, which really put the Chicano movement on a national scale, was the grape boycott. It brought awareness to Mexican-Americans as the cultivators and harvesters of the food that feeds the nation, but it also revealed corporate conspiracy with military forces to use violence against a peaceful, nonviolent movement.

Cesar Chavez, co-founder of the United Farm Workers.

We know that there were legendary arguments between you and Cesar Chavez, particularly when the union began complaining that they were breaking the strike by using workers brought directly from Mexico. On the one hand, Cesar didn’t want Mexican workers….

DH: Actually, that is not true. From day one, the United Farm Workers has always been the largest organization of undocumented workers. In 1963, when the Bracero Program ended, they legalized tens of thousands of the Mexican braceros–without the help of Congress, by the way. Cesar and I set to work legalizing as many of these workers as we could, going with our typewriters out in the fields.

When we passed the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, we made sure that undocumented workers were covered by the law and all union benefits were made available to the undocumented. Then we passed the Amnesty Bill, which gave two million farm workers their residency.

MGM: Out in the fields you witnessed police violence. You yourself were the victim of police violence during an action in San Francisco in 1988. Would you say that today brown lives matter?

DH: Of course they do. In Bakersfield, California, where we are organizing at the moment, they have the highest rate of police killings in the country. We’re fighting the school district in Kern County and the school-to-prison pipeline. We just reached a settlement with the Kern County school district which forces them to change their policies and procedures. The way we work is we organize the parents, we organize the people, so that they can do it for themselves.

DB: I think one of the untold stories of the United Farm Workers is that you were on the cutting edge of the environmental movement, highlighting how chemistry was hurting both the farm workers and the consumers of food. But that battle continues. We are still doing stories about spraying [pesticides] near schools where the kids of farm workers are trying to learn.

Peter Bratt: And it is not just the farmworkers. There is Flint, Michigan, where a mostly African-American population was being poisoned by the water. There is Standing Rock, where oil is being piped through a poor and indigenous community.

DH: We have to put all the issues of environmental poisoning under the Department of Health and Human Services. Take it out of the EPA, take it out of Agriculture. In Bakersfield recently the farmers were being poisoned by a chemical that Trump just took off the restricted list.

DB: Peter Bratt, why did you decide to make this film? You have been working on it for five years.

PB: I wish I could take the credit for making this film, but it was really my brother Carlos Santana. He had the foresight and the wisdom to see the necessity of Dolores’ story. There is an urgency today and a lot we can take from her work over the last seven decades.

As we were crisscrossing the country, digging through archives, the Black Lives Matter struggle had already started. I was looking at footage and thinking, my God, this was Black Lives Matter thirty years ago!

DB: What were some of the epiphanies you had making the film?

PB: Just the fact that Dolores lived at the intersection of racial justice, feminism, and environmental justice. Today we talk of intersectionality, of bringing movements together. But people like Cesar and Dolores, Angela Davis and Martin Luther King, they lived it, it grew out of necessity.

DB: Dolores, I want to talk to you about Robert Kennedy. He makes two significant appearances in the film. One was when he appeared at the hunger strike and the second when he was assassinated in Los Angeles. Can you talk about Kennedy’s contribution to the work you were doing at that time?

DH: Over the years he was a great supporter. He helped us raise money for our clinics in Delano. We were working on his campaign and we had a lot of hope that we were going to have someone out there fighting for us. The last thing he said before he was killed was that we have a responsibility to our fellow citizens. June of next year will be fifty years since he was assassinated. We have no choice but to go forward. We don’t have the luxury of cynicism or disengagement. There are too many people out there depending on us.

DB: You founded the Dolores Huerta Foundation in part to further the ability of women to be a part of the struggle.

DH: Right now we are active in nine different communities, in seven different school districts, trying to make sure that state funds are spent the way they were supposed to be spent, for low-income people, for second-language people. Many of the people we have organized are now sitting on school boards, water boards, city councils.

MGM: Peter, the film that first brought you national acclaim was Follow Me Home, which was about the story of Native Americans. You followed this up with a movie that focused on Chicanismo, La Mission. And now you’ve made Dolores. I know, Peter, how difficult it is for a Latin American film director to get any kind of support from the industry. What was the biggest obstacle you came up against?

Marker for Border Crossing 2. San Ysidro, San Diego, CA 2012. (Flickr U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

PB: Films like this are not financed in Hollywood. With La Mission, it took us four years just to raise the money. With Follow Me Home, we actually had to do self-distribution, we hand-carried that film across the country. It is tough as an independent filmmaker but if you also choose as your subject matter Latinos or Chicanos, it is even tougher. You have to love your subject, it has to have deep meaning for you, because it consumes your life and the lives of those around you.

MGM: I’d like to ask you, Dolores, how has the border affected you and your personal life?

DH: We know that hundreds of people have died because of the wall. After all, crossing a border is not a crime. You are not hurting anybody when you cross a border without documents. They have turned it into a crime by deporting people. It is just part of the whole incarceration movement.

These people contribute so much to our society, why do we make them into criminals? It is political. Tom DeLay once said that the reason they don’t want to legalize these people is because they vote for the Democrats.

DB: Today [Sept. 5] it was announced that the DACA program has been rescinded. We are already seeing protests across the country.

MGM: As Carlos Santana said a few years ago, concerning this issue of immigration, we are all Mexicans. Here in California, everybody is coming together, they are saying, “We are all DACA students.” It is making clear that this movement is not just a Mexican thing, it is a human rights issue. It is a question of racial justice.

DH: We have to remind people about SB-54 [the California Values Act], to send an email to the governor’s office asking him to sign this into law. Sheriffs are putting a lot of pressure on Governor [Jerry] Brown to water down the bill.

MGM: Well, there is a problem with that, Dolores, and that is that one of the strongest unions here in California, the Correctional Officers and Police Union, has been putting a lot of pressure on Brown. I am not very comfortable with Jerry. It took a lot of pressure last year to get him to sign some of those bills.

DB: Let’s talk about the Foundation and your mission to inspire young women to get engaged. Talk about some of the women you have already worked with and how you plan to make sure that the work continues.

DH: Basically, we create leadership in the communities and the majority of them turn out to be women who are actually doing the work out there. It is a no-fail way to create leadership that Fred Ross, Sr. taught us.

The only problem is that people don’t quite understand that this takes time. It takes time for the leaders to emerge. We go into communities and give them the tools to form organizations.

Artwork by Shepard Fairey.

One woman with very limited English, together with her husband, got a bond issue passed to build a new gymnasium at their middle school. Then she got elected to the school board and got the principal fired for wanting to end the breakfast program. Later she found out that the person they had hired to manage the water district was guilty of embezzlement so she got rid of him. These people are hotel workers, construction workers, farm workers, but they get elected to these boards and start doing the work of governing for the people.

In addition, we support voting efforts and civic engagement. We have an LGBT project because we know that there is a lot of discrimination, especially against transgender youth and adults. We also have a health program, to get people to exercise and eat more nutritious foods. The reason we can take on so many projects is that we build a base of a hundred or so people and then they all form different committees and take on the issues.

DB: It is incredibly frustrating if you are a woman and you have worked so hard on a project and just when it is about to see the light of day some man walks in and takes the credit.

DH: As Coretta Scott King said, we will never have peace in the world until women take power. If you see a board and there are no women on that board, they are going to make poor decisions. We saw that with these senators who were trying to repeal the healthcare bill. There were two Republican women who said there was no way they could vote for that. And who did the media give credit to? John McCain.

DB: It takes courage to get up and speak in front of people.

DH: One of the things we tell all our people is that they are going to have to speak in front of school boards, city councils. We have them practice and write down notes about what they are going to say, and that is how they eventually overcome their fears.

DB: A poetry teacher of mine once wrote, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” Indeed, that is the case with our guest today, Dolores Huerta.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom. You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net.

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31 comments for “The Neglected Legend of Dolores Huerta

  1. willow
    September 12, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Sadly, Dolores Huerta supported corporate darling Hillary Clinton, who resisted until the last leg of her campaign, increasing the minimum wage, instead of supporting Bernie Sanders, who supported a higher living wage from the beginning of his campaign. Hillary used Ms. Huerta to secure the Latino vote. Donald should thank Dolores, because he couldn’t have won without her support of Hillary.

    • Zachary Smith
      September 13, 2017 at 12:32 am

      Supporting Hillary can hardly damn anybody. After all, the voters had the choice of her or Trump – a fellow who isn’t exactly any kind of a prize, either.

      Donald should thank Dolores, because he couldn’t have won without her support of Hillary.

      I’d need a serious pile of evidence before I’d buy into this argument.

      There was one section where I disagree with DH.

      DH: We know that hundreds of people have died because of the wall. After all, crossing a border is not a crime. You are not hurting anybody when you cross a border without documents. They have turned it into a crime by deporting people. It is just part of the whole incarceration movement.

      I’d give some rather high odds this isn’t how the US lawbook reads.

      I made a search for “Delores Huerta”, and in particular, on RightWingNut sites to see if they had anything. Seems the woman is a “communist”, though the author provided no evidence for that at all. Another place accused her of speaking well of Hugo Chavez.

      Huerta also had a lot of surprisingly great things to say about Hugo Chavez and what he’s doing down in Venezuela. She praised the cooperative farms, free medical and dental care, the free housing for the people (that Venezuela’s military commands their representative to provide). “We are the richest country in the world, right? So why can’t we do that in the United States? Republicans hate Latinos. Republicans hate Latinos,” Huerta said.

      Imagine the US inflicting any of those evils on our proud people. Free Medical. Free Dental. Free Housing! She favors treating everybody as a human being. She helped organize UNIONS. She’s a Socialist, all right. No wonder those rightwingnuts hyperventilate at the mention of her name.

      Overall, I’d be quite pleased to see the woman’s face on a US stamp someday.

      • willow
        September 13, 2017 at 1:36 am

        You say supporting Hillary shouldn’t damn anybody. First of all, “damn” is your word, not mine. More importantly, Ms. Huerta isn’t “anybody.” She is an influential leader in her community who delivered the Latino vote for Hillary, rather than the real democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders.

      • September 13, 2017 at 4:31 am

        She didn’t just support Hillary.

        She led a campaign of lies against Sanders supporters at her caucus in Las Vegas that they were conspiring against Latino participants- which the media latched onto as if it was true. It wasn’t. It was a distortion of what happened, but Latino supporters of Hillary then repeated it loudly over and over.

        I lost all respect for her when she did this. It was no different than John Lewis lying that he’d never heard of Sanders do a thing in the Civil Rights era but he met Bill and Hillary- which was a lie since she was a Goldwater Girl and he never met them until decades later. But it got repeated over and over by the Clinton machine.

        Both these civil rights heroes got co-opted by the Neo-Liberal, Neo-Con, Deport Children seeking Sanctuary and demonize Chavismo Democratic Establishment. Shame on her.

        • Billy
          September 13, 2017 at 9:44 pm

          I believe it was the $100,000 donation or (bribe) Ms. Huerta recieved from the Clinton foundation. That probably inspired her to shill for Hillary.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      September 13, 2017 at 1:28 am

      I agree. While her earlier career was certainly heroic, she was particularly adamant in her support of corporate shill Hillary over Sanders, which puts a stain on her earlier proven record of heroism. The mainstream of the democratic party power structure used a number of such figures, including the former civil rights hero who falsely attacked Sanders’ 1960s record, and Sanders himself, who after the harpy secured the nomination despite the stench of corrupt machinations, went out and labored mightily for her corrupt campaign. This all reveals that very few people are totally immune from selling out.

    • Peter Loeb
      September 14, 2017 at 6:22 am

      ILLUSIONS AND REALITIES

      “…to probe these questions is to reintroduce the issue of capitalism
      as an economic power system into the history of the working class, to consider
      again the structural and political dimensions of the existing working
      class, to consider again the structure of the existing social order,
      and to touch upon such factors as technology, geography, violence
      in their roles of influencing capitalist America…

      …During economic downturns and recessions, …unions become quite passive
      factors in the economic structure…Even if unions …at various times prompted
      claims and demands, in the aggregate they have dealt with the economies
      of their industries in terms businessmen defined…”

      Gabriel Kolko in MAIN CURRENTS IN MODERN AMERICAN
      HISTORY, Chapter 5

      Much is to be learned from the brightest lights of the labor movement
      (e g. Jack Rasmus). It remains that the constraints delineated by
      Kolko remain (and are described in more detail in Kolko, op cit)

      Needless to say, Kolko’s views did not win him any friends in
      the labor movement or the progressive party. Kolko’s analysis,
      published in 1976 (Pantheon Books, NY) does not deal with
      Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  2. mike k
    September 13, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Alas! Such imperfect creatures are we, one and all. Some assiduous truth diggers have unearthed unseemly facts about Gandhi, or MLK, or Mandela, or damn near any heroic figure you can name. Where are the perfect leaders we dream of? They turn out not to exist in this problematic world.

    In my lengthy search for spiritual teachers, I ran into the same problem – they all turned out to have flaws, every single one I studied with. I was disillusioned time and again…….

    But Aha! There was the lesson, waiting for me to understand it. Disillusionment turns out to be an important step on the road to truth. My expectations of finding a perfect teacher were the source of my problem. I have to tell a joke at this juncture –

    Tony’s friend David came to him one day, and told him that in light of his fruitless search for the perfect woman, he had decided to take a trip around the world to find her. Almost two years passed, when Tony got a wire from David that he would be landing from a ship in New York. When he greeted David at the pier, Tony had to ask, “Did you find her?” David hesitated, then said, “Yes.” But he looked deflated, so Tony asked him, “was there a problem?” David said, “Yes.” What was it? “She was looking for the perfect man.”

    What I learned in my search was that although there were no perfect teachers, nevertheless each one I studied with had some valuable lessons for me, and I just had to recognize and reject their imperfections, and hang on to what they gave me of value. Much later I read a short poem by Rumi”

    Do not consider

    My outward form

    But take, take

    What is in

    My hand

    • David Smith
      September 13, 2017 at 11:42 am

      The problem is that if you take what is in Dolores Huertas’ hand, you get Soros, so no deal

      • Nancy
        September 13, 2017 at 1:54 pm

        It’s sad but true. People like Dolores Huerta start out with great intentions, but end up being co-opted and herd their supporters into the phony Democratic Party. I would think that people would be wise to this scam by now.

      • mike k
        September 13, 2017 at 1:54 pm

        My point was that she had some good things to share, and some bad things. Take the good, reject the bad.

  3. AnthraxSleuth
    September 13, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    And then Dolores Huerta destroyed any credibility she had built up over the years by flat out lying that Bernie supporters shouted “English Only” at a Nevada caucus.

    Absolutely barf inducing article to try and prop this documented liar onto a pedestal.

  4. mike k
    September 13, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    We like our heroes and our villains either pure white or pure black. Shades of gray are too confusing to simple minds.

    “The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every person.” (Solzhenitsyn)

    • Donald
      September 14, 2017 at 7:39 am

      The problem is the original post was written by a simple mind, to use your formulation. A balanced article pointing out her flaws as well as her virtues would have been better. You should be pointing this out. It’s true we should take the good and reject the bad, but articles which give simpleminded portraits of people are a big part of the problem.

      • period..
        September 14, 2017 at 10:37 am

        I agree with your reasonable response. I was really responding to comments like AnthraxSleuth above “…. destroyed any credibility she had built up over the years…” A lot of otherwise decent people have bought into the Hillary hoaxes, which does not mean they are now black as sin. We can disagree with people without feeling a need to curse them forever. Demonizing has it’s attractions, but it is not the truth.

        • AnthraxSleuth
          September 14, 2017 at 3:28 pm

          You can heap praise on documented liars all you want.
          Rational people are not going to support that.

          Next time you have a response to me.
          Reply to me.

  5. Don Honda
    September 14, 2017 at 11:17 am

    It’s interesting that Illegal Aliens are encouraged to use Chavez as a hero for their rights and his motto, “Si Se Puede” because he was adamantly opposed to Illegal Immigration as they hurt his efforts to help Legal Farm Workers for better working conditions and better wages.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ9jIXHhFJI

    http://www.latintimes.com/cesar-chavez-legacy-wet-lines-illegals-campaign-dark-side-latino-icons-opposition-162528

    https://www.amren.com/features/2014/06/cesar-chavez-the-saint-unmasked/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cesar_Chavez

    Revisionist History of Chavez

    “The UFW during Chavez’s tenure was committed to restricting immigration. Chavez and Dolores Huerta, cofounder and president of the UFW, fought the Bracero Program that existed from 1942 to 1964. Their opposition stemmed from their belief that the program undermined U.S. workers and exploited the migrant workers. Since the Bracero Program ensured a constant supply of cheap immigrant labor for growers, immigrants could not protest any infringement of their rights, lest they be fired and replaced. Their efforts contributed to Congress ending the Bracero Program in 1964. In 1973, the UFW was one of the first labor unions to oppose proposed employer sanctions that would have prohibited hiring undocumented immigrants. Later during the 1980s, while Chavez was still working alongside Huerta, he was key in getting the amnesty provisions into the 1986 federal immigration act.

    On a few occasions, concerns that undocumented migrant labor would undermine UFW strike campaigns led to a number of controversial events, which the UFW describes as anti-strikebreaking events, but which have also been interpreted as being anti-immigrant. In 1969, Chavez and members of the UFW marched through the Imperial and Coachella Valleys to the border of Mexico to protest growers’ use of undocumented immigrants as strikebreakers. Joining him on the march were Reverend Ralph Abernathy and U.S. Senator Walter Mondale. In its early years, the UFW and Chavez went so far as to report undocumented immigrants who served as strikebreaking replacement workers (as well as those who refused to unionize) to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. In 1973, the United Farm Workers set up a “wet line” along the United States-Mexico border to prevent Mexican immigrants from entering the United States illegally and potentially undermining the UFW’s unionization efforts. During one such event, in which Chavez was not involved, some UFW members, under the guidance of Chavez’s cousin Manuel, physically attacked the strikebreakers after peaceful attempts to persuade them not to cross the border failed.”

    In 1974, the union inaugurated its “Illegals Campaign,” in which it urged members to report undocumented workers to federal authorities for deportation.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=uDcsAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA86&lpg=PA86&dq=%22campaign+against+Illegals%22+UFW+Chavez&source=bl&ots=ubarGu_FLn&sig=FEAVzVWokGPOYMYdYI_OugxFQB8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjSs6mNwIzMAhULNj4KHQjPDpgQ6AEITjAI#v=onepage&q=%22campaign%20against%20Illegals%22%20UFW%20Chavez&f=false

    https://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/2017/09/13/ufw-union-dues-pay-lawsuit-settlement/664307001/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=

    UFW union dues to pay for lawsuit settlement

    “A judge has ordered that United Farm Workers of America member dues be used to pay for the $1.2 million judgement in the civil action suit against the UFW from its own employees. “

  6. Mariam
    September 14, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    I lost trust on Dolores Huerta after I saw the way she went out of her way to praise and campaigned for Hillary. It was disappointing at best, and utterly humiliating at worst. For Ms. Huerta wanting and hoping that the “Queen of Chaos” would win the election is one thing, but servilely genuflecting to her is unpardonable.

  7. September 14, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Dolores spent all her credibility on backing Hillary Clinton. It cannot be bought back.

  8. Pat Kittle
    September 14, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    In an absurdly over-crowded world “legendary” Delores had 11 (ELEVEN!) off-spring.

    With no apparent shame or self-awareness, she demands we reward over-breeders like herself by endlessly welcoming them to dump their irresponsibility on us.

    Meanwhile, people like Bernstein (author of this article) likely have their own reasons for this treason.

    • Zachary Smith
      September 15, 2017 at 10:40 am

      In an absurdly over-crowded world “legendary” Delores had 11 (ELEVEN!) off-spring.

      Sitting in 2017 we have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, and from our vantage point this is deplorable. This woman wasn’t born in 2017 though, but rather in 1930, and grew up during the Great Depression in a backward part of the US. Though her own circumstances weren’t as bad as they might have been, the poverty around her would have affected her attitudes. Health Care in those days was quite backward. Antibiotics were undreamed of, and probably even vaccinations were not common in poor areas of rural New Mexico. People wanted potential protection for their old age (No Social Security!) and tended to have as many children as they could, for an awful lot of them were likely to die before getting to voting age. Add to that the fact that Delores Huerta was a Catholic. Contraception was absolutely forbidden by the 100% male bosses in that church.

      People change. As a kid I was totally into Creationism because 1) that’s what the Bible said, and 2) I hadn’t learned a speck of science yet. Abraham Lincoln was, as the neo-confederates love to point out, darned near racist in his personal beliefs. Lincoln outgrew that, and Huerta certainly evolved as well. Everybody here is flogging her for one reason or another, and so I’ll provide yet some more “dirt” on the woman.

      She {Huerta} turned her efforts to women’s rights. We learn of Huerta’s friendship with Gloria Steinem. Despite being a lifelong Roman Catholic, she discusses how her position against abortion evolved into a pro-choice platform.

      Yep, that’s the club some of the Fundie types use to beat her with. Evil Woman!!

      Huerta’s 11 children had only 14 kids themselves, for they grew up in a different era than their mother.

      So your complaint basically isn’t a fair one.

      • Pat Kittle
        September 15, 2017 at 7:48 pm

        Yes, I’m familiar with all your excuses for over-breeding (they amount to ignorance, herd-mentality, & selfishness).

        You excuse Delores’s over-breeding as her being a product of her times.

        But you don’t excuse Jefferson & Washington (slave-owners) as a product of their times.

        So your complaint basically isn’t a fair one.

        • Zachary Smith
          September 15, 2017 at 9:17 pm

          Yes, I’m familiar with all your excuses for over-breeding (they amount to ignorance, herd-mentality, & selfishness).

          Explanations are not exactly the same thing as excuses. But since you’re so extremely righteous, I’m going to assume you refuse to tolerate anybody you know – even family – who has more than two children.

          But you don’t excuse Jefferson & Washington (slave-owners) as a product of their times.

          Washington, yes.

          Jefferson, no.

          Owning slaves is one thing, horribly abusing them is quite another.

        • September 17, 2017 at 10:35 pm

          “Yep, that’s the club some of the Fundie types use to beat her with. Evil Woman!!

          Huerta’s 11 children had only 14 kids themselves, for they grew up in a different era than their mother.”

          Zachary…your point is valid!

  9. rick sterling
    September 14, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    It’s very inaccurate to claim that Dolores Huerta is one of the “least known” activists in the USA. On the contrary, she is one of the best known. Sadly, she completely sold out in the last election. That is a major contributor to why the Dems lost. If some of those stars had a little more integrity and demanded fair accounting and instead bowing before the coronation of Clinton, Sanders probably would have been the Dem candidate and Trump would not be president. And now they have the nerve to blame everyone but themselves.

    • Zachary Smith
      September 15, 2017 at 10:44 am

      It’s very inaccurate to claim that Dolores Huerta is one of the “least known” activists in the USA. On the contrary, she is one of the best known.

      You overstate the case, for I’d never heard of Delores Huerta before reading this essay.

      • Pat Kittle
        September 15, 2017 at 8:08 pm

        I’m not even a fan of Delores, but I’ve known about her for decades. As a matter of fact, I boycotted grapes a half century ago in solidarity with these people. But unlike you, I no longer make excuses for them.

        Delores’s sanctimonious lectures (I attended one at UCSC long ago) on environmentalism make ZERO reference to the #1 component of sustainability — seriously achieving a sustainable population size (without making excuses).

        Meanwhile, she passionately invites every over-breeder on Earth to move to the most notorious carbon-emitting nation on Earth. How the hell is THAT supposed to lower carbon emissions??

        Go ahead, be the very first one to explain how that works.

  10. Ruth
    September 15, 2017 at 2:40 am

    unfortunately, though I have supported the United Farm Workers for years and USED to think Dolores Huerta was someone to
    be admired as a fellow person “in the movement”, and I do know now that inthe new documentary of her life, many of her trials and tribulations and instances of overcoming them are well documented (though I will not see it due to the following:), still I CANNOT forgive her betrayal of her own ideals and moral compass in supporting Hilary Clinton–it is unfathomable to me and inexplicable–if she was doing it on the basis of Hillary’s being a woman, that would be a very shallow explanation (nonetheless probably the same foolish “reasoning” of Katherine Van Den Heuvel of “The Nation”)–I can’t think of any rational reason for this.

    • Zachary Smith
      September 15, 2017 at 10:59 am

      Let’s suppose that in certain election a long, long time ago in a distant land the voters were given a choice between two monsters. One or the other of them was most certainly going to be elected to the important position for which they were competing. I can easily imagine the citizens there could use some arbitrary methods of picking who they would vote for. “Candidate X” once won a beer drinking contest. Or, “Candidate Y” is tall and handsome and looks really great in his cowboy hat.

      I don’t approve of voting for somebody on the basis of “it’s their turn”, or “first woman President”, but given the FACT the US of A was pretty much screwed no matter how the election turned out, I can understand the impulse.

      Personally, I threw my vote away by writing in the name of Jill Stein, but that was in the face of opposition from virtually everybody I knew. It was my DUTY to vote for one of the monsters, I was told. “Lesser evil” stuff. So that’s what most all of them did.

      • Pat Kittle
        September 15, 2017 at 8:16 pm

        Jill Stein, like Sanders, is Jewish, and to their credit they were less likely than Hillary to start the next Mideastern war for the Terrorist Theocracy of Eretz Israel…

        …which explains why Hillary’s TOP 7 CAMPAIGN “DONORS” were all war-mongering Zionist Jewish billionaires & Hillary was rootin’-tootin’ eager to give them their grand prize — a war with Iran.

        (Go ahead and call me “antisemitic” — if stating facts is “antisemitic” then I’m “antisemitic.”)

  11. Peggy Barnes Budd
    September 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    “Viva la Mujer” “Viva, Dolores” and her heartfelt work, persistently, year after year. My Mother, Alice Barnes, worked with
    Dolores and Fred Ross, Sr.in their organizing efforts in the fields and on the picket lines. Dolores Huerta has called Alice
    Barnes a “Saint” for her work with the UFW. Dolores knows what an “organizing Saint” is: Because she is ONE!
    Hope the movie gets an Oscar

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