21 Powerful Living Women: Dolores Huerta
(Dolores Clara Fernandez Huerta)
Labor leader, Civil rights activist, Co-founder United Farmworkers
Dolores is one of the most influential labor activists of the 20th century. In 1955 Huerta began her activist career by founding the Stockton chapter of the Community Service Organization (CSO), which led voter registration drives and fought for economic improvements for Hispanics. She also founded the Agricultural Workers Association. Dolores met César Chávez and they founded the National Farm Workers Association. She led boycotts resulting in the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, which allowed farm workers to form unions and bargain for better wages and conditions. She worked as a lobbyist to elect more Latinos and women to political office and championed women’s issues. Her quote, “Sí se puede,” Spanish for "Yes, we can" inspired President Obama's campaign slogan and he acknowledged Dolores as the source of the phrase when awarding her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. Dolores is the subject of several films, Sylvia Morales’ A Crushing Love, Diego Luna's César Chávez, and a 2017 documentary called Dolores. Huerta received a $100,000 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship in 2002, which she used to create the Dolores Huerta Foundation, that continues to work with agricultural communities, organizing people to run for office and advocating on issues of health, education and economic development. As of 2015, she was a board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation and the Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America. She has an asteroid named after her, the Asteroid 6849 Doloreshuerta, discovered by American astronomers Eleanor Helin and Schelte Bus at Palomar Observatory in 1979.