Hispanic hero: Dolores Huerta

It's Hispanic Heritage month and I'm continuing with my occasional blog about a Hispanic hero.

Today I'd like to recognize Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America.


She worked along side Cesar Chavez in the fight for fair wages and treatment of the people who harvest our crops. She helped win basics like toilets and drinking water for the farm workers and later disability insurance for them.

Today, at 79, she is president of her own foundation and a tireless advocate for immigration reform, gay marriage and social justice.

I interviewed her back in 1998 when I was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. At the time I asked her to explain her working relationship with Chavez.

"We always worked as a team, but we used to argue a lot. We had different thoughts on strategies. A good example was the grape boycott. He wanted it to be a potato boycott. So we had this fight. We had the biggest potato grower in California, and we had one grape contract. I said, 'Look what we can do with boycotting California table grapes?' " Huerta told  me.

"It took a fight to get that. In fact, probably the only reason I won that fight was because he was on the seventh day of a fast and he was weak. We never argued about philosophy because we shared the same philosophy. We argued about strategy. Should it be grapes or potatoes? Sometimes he would win, and sometimes I would win," she added.

The struggle continues and Huerta still travels the country carrying a message she helped coin, "Si se puede," or "Yes we can."

Continue reading to see a video of Huerta speaking at the 21st National Conference on LGBT Equality. She jokes how Obama stole the farm worker slogan.

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