BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – A new cultural and community center named after iconic civil rights leader Dolores Huerta is giving a much-needed facelift to Downtown Bakersfield.
Known as the mother of the farmworker movement, Huerta’s spirit for activism and improving the community will now be immortalized at the Dolores Huerta Peace and Justice Cultural Center on Eye Street.
“So, it’s going to be for the community, not about Dolores Huerta,” said Huerta. “It’s about reaching out to the community, especially to the young people so we can have youth development and give them the resources to grow up to be good citizens.”
$15 million has now been allocated in the state budget to bring the cultural center to life. An effort that was spearheaded by Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D – Bakersfield).
“Being part of her history is something I will always cherish,” said Salas. “You can now have a place that you can call home and that place is the Dolores Huerta Peace and Justice Cultural Center.”
The center will feature youth leadership programs, a childcare center, spaces for special cultural events or performances and a space to honor indigenous communities and cultures that makeup Kern County.
The cultural center will also revitalize the Eye Street corridor, hoping to attract tourism to the Downtown area and into Kern County – something Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez is hopeful for.
“Dolores Huerta is the picture, the model practitioner of the values that we share as Americans,” said Supervisor Perez. “It’s an opportunity to highlight the many assets that Kern County has and what we bring to the table.”
There is no set date on a ground-breaking, but the project will be employing local workers to build the center, promising to provide competitive wages and benefits to workers.
For now, the center will provide a much needed resource in the Bakersfield community that will empower, support and celebrate culture in the community.
“Of course, it’s going to be open to the community,” said Huerta. “People can come to have their Quinceañera, or their wedding or to put up a performance, it’s a teaching center that’s what it really is.”