The Smithsonian Institution and Bakersfield College present “Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos.”

Activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) Dolores Huerta at the Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos Zoom panel.

Charr Davenport, Reporter

The Smithsonian Institution and Bakersfield College collaborated with the Dolores Huerta Foundation to present the virtual art exhibit “Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos,” which debuted Thursday, March 25 and will remain throughout the Spring 2021 semester.

 According to Bakersfield College’s Jones Art Gallery’s webpage, the virtual exhibit focuses on the public work-life of activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) Dolores Huerta, as well as her life as a mother, teacher, and organizer.

In partnership with the exhibit and as part of the third annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference, a five-day-long conference in honor of late Bakersfield College Chicano Studies Professor Jesus “Jess” Gilberto Nieto, the Bakersfield College Social Justice Institute held a Zoom panel of the same name featuring Huerta as the main speaker. The event also featured Smithsonian Institution Curator of Latino Art and History Dr. Taína Caragol as a speaker. 

The Zoom panel opened with words from the Smithsonian Institution Project Director for Latino Initiatives, Maria Cossu. “This is a special moment because we are here with Dolores Huerta… I am thankful to Dolores Huerta herself for trusting us to tell her story… We are humbled and honored to be able to tell Dolores Huerta’s critical American story.”

After a brief introduction from Cossu, Dr. Caragol talked about the “Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos” project as a whole. “Something that is really special about this project is that it was very important to Dolores from the beginning that this history not be seen as something from the past, but as a current phenomenon, as the seed of a continuum of social struggle,” said Dr. Caragol.

Following this, Huerta herself spoke of her life as an activist and her motivations. “All of these problems that we have right now that you are living, they are not going to be solved unless you do it,” said Huerta. “You can’t wait for somebody to come and do it for you. The way we can meet these challenges is to come together as a group. Because one person can’t do it by themselves. We have to come together and take direct action. We are able to.”

Huerta also had advice prepared for those in attendance at the event. “The one thing I want to share with the students that are here today, the one thing that I did learn in all the work that I have done is that there is always somebody out there that will help you,” Huerta shared.  

“Everything that I did, I just asked somebody out there that was doing the work to tell me how they did it. That’s how I learned.”