BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — She’s 90 years old and shows no signs of slowing down. Labor icon and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta is as active as ever. Best known as the co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union in Delano, Huerta has grown into national prominence.
“Si se puede” was the rallying cry by Huerta when organizing farm workers as they fought for better working conditions in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Huerta says there is still a lot of work that needs to be done and she wants others to know they have the power within themselves to change things.
“There is so much work that still needs to be done, we have so many people to reach and empower them so that they can understand that they have it within themselves. They have the power to change things,” said Huerta.
She’s inspired to see young people get involved in issues to improve their communities through peaceful means.
“My philosophy has always been one of non-violence and I believe that we can make changes without using any kind of violence,” Huerta said.
Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in 2012 and this year was recognized as one of Time magazine’s 100 Women of the Year.
“We are so dependent on each other that this is not the time to promote any kind of racial hatred you know, even against the police,” Huerta said.
Dolores Huerta worked at the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office in the 1950’s for two years. She said her job was to do the line-up.
“As people came through the line-up I had to take all of their information down and it was very painful to see some of my friends go through the line-up,” Huerta said.
Despite today’s deep political divide, Dolores Huerta remains an optimist.
“So we kind of have to go back to [the] basics you know, love your neighbor as you do yourself.”