UFW pioneer to kick off Women’s History
February 28, 2003
Filed under News
Dolores Huerta, “Mother of the UFW,” will be on campus Tuesday to speak on women and societal change to kick off Women’s History Month.
The 72-year-old Huerta is a landmark activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, which lobbied successfully for the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, the first law granting farmworkers the right to organize and bargain for better conditions.
Chicano studies professor Rosa Garza describes Huerta as an “icon.”
“She’s an icon of the Chicano movement. She worked right along with Cesar Chavez (but she) doesn’t get a lot of credit,” she said.
Huerta is not only a pioneer in the UFW, but in the women’s movement as well. For Garza, Huerta’s influence can be found in both.
“Huerta is not only for Chicanos, but women in general. … I’m amazed at what she’s done. It hasn’t always been this easy (for women). The younger generation should appreciate her activism.”
Huerta received many awards for her activism, like the 2002 UCLA Cesar E. Chavez Spirit Award. She has also received the Puffin Foundation and the Nation Institute Prize for Creative Citizenship, which goes annually to “an American who has challenged the status quo through courageous and imaginative work.”
She has organized field strikes, the five-year-long Delano grape strike and, though she nearly died from an aneurysm in 2000, she marched from Bakersfield to Sacramento in support of legislation for farmworkers this past summer. Huerta also was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.
“We should consider ourselves lucky to have her speaking to us. (She has) contributed a lot to the valley … and the nation,” said retired BC history professor Gaylen Lewis, who is helping promote Women’s History Month.
Huerta will speak on “Women Creating Change in Today’s World,” a reflection on women and their impact in social change at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Fireside Room. Huerta’s discussion will be the highlight of a series of discussions and films celebrating Women’s History Month.
On International Women’s Day, March 8, from 10 a.m. to noon, a number of speakers on “Alternative Careers for Women” will address students in Forum East. Psychology professor Karen Eso is in charge of coordinating the event, which will present several nontraditional careers for women. Careers in construction, architecture, firefighting, medicine, automotive and law enforcement are a few that will be discussed. About 80 at-risk young women will be bused to the event through the help of youth programs Lamont CARES and Sister to Sister.
Other presentations during Women’s History Month will include “Woman Outlaws: From Ma Barker to Martha Stewart” on March 10 at 7 p.m. and “Brazen Doxies: A Brief History of Women in Sport” on March 17 at 7 p.m. Both will be held in the Fireside Room.
The film segments that will be shown during Women’s History Month tackle the issues of ethnicity and womanhood. Theater professor Kim Chin will show “Slaying the Dragon,” a film which deals with both positive and negative images of Asian women. It will be shown March 20 at noon in Forum West.
“The Salt of the Earth” will be shown by Garza on March 6 at 6 p.m. in Forum East. The film was produced in the 1950s, concerning a zinc labor strike in New Mexico.
Other films scheduled to be shown include “Halving the Bones” on March 12 at 7 p.m. in Forum East and “Carmen Miranda: Bananas is My Business” on March 24 at 1 p.m. in Fine Arts 30. Sociology and anthropology professor Pat Thompson will host both films.