By Joanna Quintanilla
Behind every great man is a great woman. Behind César Chávez was Dolores Huerta.
Dolores Huerta was invited to Humboldt State University on March 12 as a keynote speaker to address “issues of marginalized groups, justice & equality, education, farm-worker’s rights, women’s rights and LGBTQ” by F.R.E.E. (Finding Resources and Empowerment through Education), Social Works Student Association, Lambda Theta Alpha and various other clubs and organisations as stated on their Facebook page, F.R.E.E.’s Dolores Huerta Project. Not only did Huerta deliver an inspiring speech but also held a film screening with Q & A before.
When you first see Huerta you see a small Hispanic woman with non intimidating features; but it is when she begins to speak that you feel compelled to listen. At the Q & A with Huerta students listened as she spoke of her experiences, from dealing with men who did not take her seriously, fighting for women to command some power, and the protests.
The protests that eventually lead her to not only fight for the rights of farm workers but also for the rights of women. Huerta worked to rally more women into office and to take leadership roles, at the Q & A with Huerta here at HSU Huerta gave insight into how difficult it was to get women to stay in a position of power within the group.
When speaking about the women in the group, attending sophomore Alicia Moore asked, “why was it so difficult for women to be in these roles in the group?”
“As women we are not taught to take power,” Huerta said. Women were not used to telling the men what to do, or standing up to their husbands who would not want them in a leadership position. That’s a battle that, as a feminist, Huerta continues to fight today.
Huerta grew up in Stockton, Calif., as the daughter of a compassionate mother who helped mold her into the feminist she became. Huerta’s work began when as a teacher she could no longer bear to see her students hungry and barefoot. After joining the Stockton Community Service Organization, Huerta met César Chávez with whom Huerta shared a similar vision and went on to launch the National Farm Workers Association, now known as the United Farm Workers (UNF).
The National Farm Workers Association worked to better conditions for farm workers and their families. Huerta was key in lobbying for issues and negotiating on behalf of the group. As time passed men finally began to take Huerta seriously once it was seen that she could “measure up” to the other men.