Shenandoah University hosts longtime civil rights activist
Huerta, 88, will hold her hour-long presentation at 2 p.m. in Stimpson Auditorium in Halpin-Harrison Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
Huerta will follow up her talk with a screening of a new documentary, “Dolores: Rebel, Activist, Feminist, Mother,” at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema at 7 p.m. Monday. Cost is $20. Huerta will speak before the film and conduct a question-and-answer session after.
“She’s on the level of Cesar Chávez and Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Bryan Pearce-Gonzales, Ph.D., professor of Hispanic studies at Shenandoah University, who helped to arrange Huerta’s visit. “She’s one of those larger-than-life, important political figures and activists. She’s the American dream story. She’s not a singer, a dancer or an actor. She’s just trying to fight for the downtrodden and people who might not have a voice.”
Huerta was born in 1930 in Dawson, New Mexico. Although small in stature, she has been vocal about improving the lives and wages of farm workers and Spanish-speaking people since the 1950s. In 1962, she co-founded, with Cesar Chávez, the National Farm Workers Association. In 1963, she secured disability insurance for farm workers in California. She also set up voter registration drives and advocated for barrio improvements. In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“She’s only this tall,” he said, holding up his hand about 5 feet above the ground, “but she has the personality of a fire-breathing dragon. She won’t take no for an answer. She won’t be distracted from the cause.”