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Dolores: Inspiring a New Generation of Activists

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Dedicating your life to being an activist and fighting for people’s rights sounds exhausting, right? Well, it isn’t for Dolores Huerta. She has dedicated her life as a women’s rights activist to improving social and economic conditions for farm workers and to fighting discrimination and inequality. At age 86, she is still standing up for what she believes in. 

Peter Bratt directed a documentary film titled Dolores that highlights Huerta’s lifelong fight for social justice. The film was premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. This film festival, which annually takes place in Park City, Utah, is a program of the Sundance Institute. It is the largest independent film festival and it allows American and international filmmakers to showcase their work.

Huerta was born April 10, 1930, in Dawson, New Mexico. In the documentary, her story is told by her, as well as by her family, civil rights leaders such as Gloria SteinemAngela Davis, and Luis Valdez, and others.

When interviewing, Bratt placed an emphasis on Huerta’s personal relationships. He explained to the Latino Rebels Radio podcast co-host Sharis Delgadillo, “As a storyteller, my job was to stay with the heroine on her political evolution. I didn’t necessarily reach out to all the farm workers. I wanted to talk to her comadres, talk to her children.”

At age 25, Huerta was already writing proposed legislation as part of California’s progressive Community Service Organization. At age 30, she co-founded the Agricultural Workers Association, which later became United Farm Workers.

A few of her accomplishments include receiving the Ellis Island Medal of Freedom Award and being inducted into the National Women’s Hall of fame in 1993. Additionally, in 2002, she received the Puffin/National Prize for Creative Citizenship.

Though the film focuses on American civil rights abuses of 60 years ago, the issues are still very relevant.

Huerta has sacrificed a private life in order to be a public advocate for what she believes in. She has been the target of verbal attacks, racist remarks, and criticism, but Huerta still stands strong today.

On January 21, 2017 Huerta spoke at the Women’s March on Main Street in Park City, Utah. She served as an honorary co-chair, and she continues to speak out on the variety of social issues that many people must endure every day of their lives.

In an interview with Michael Martin on NPR, Huerta discussed the way she felt about the film. She stated, “Well, I hope that people do like the film. I hope that this movie will inspire people when they see that farm workers, who were the most discriminated and the most poverty-stricken people in our country, you know, had the courage to stand up and to fight for their rights, to organize. That way we’ll inspire other people to say, hey, if those poorest of the poor could do it, then maybe we could do something great also.”

Huerta is a prime example of empowerment. This documentary excellently depicts what it means for a woman to stand up and to fight regardless of her circumstances. She instills a sense of inspiration in many who struggle against injustice.

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