SAN MARCOS — Palomar College students were in for a treat March 11, as famed labor leader and activist Dolores Huerta addressed a crowd of students at the college’s Howard Brubeck Theatre.
Huerta, 85, is best known for her activism alongside Cesar Chavez, with whom she co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became United Farm Workers.
Huerta shared stories about her work alongside Chavez and others organizing California farm workers, launching the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), and lobbying effectively for the passage of legislation protecting the health and welfare of farm workers and their families.
Her efforts led to securing Aid for Dependent Families (AFDC) and the establishment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, granting farm workers in California the right to collectively organize and bargain for better wages and working conditions.
Huerta, using humor throughout her address, discussed the importance of education and advocating for children’s rights, while covering a number of issues facing people today, including women’s equality and the current political climate.
Huerta’s speech was preceded by a screening of the film “The Struggle in the Fields,” which provided historical context by documenting Huerta’s efforts, along with those of Cesar Chavez and other activists in organizing farm workers for better working conditions during the ‘60s, ‘70s and beyond.
She answered follow-up questions from audience members, encouraging people to get involved in causes relevant to them, suggesting voter registration drives and political campaigns as good places to begin.
She also referred to the act of voting as a one of the most powerful forms of nonviolent activism.