Born on April 10, 1930, Dolores Huerta stands out as one of the most influential labor leaders of our time. She was the co-founder with Cesar Chavez, of the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW). As a civil rights activist, she has modeled what it means to "use our lives to make the world a better place to live." We consider her to be a Democracy Mentor.
Here are a variety of resources and some practices to help you gain access to her life of service.
To Name This Day:
"Every single day we sit down to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and at our table we have food that was planted, picked, or harvested by a farm worker. Why is it that the people who do the sacred work in our nation are the most oppressed, the most exploited?"
— Dolores Huerta
"Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person is a potential activist, every minute a change to save the world."
— Dolores Huerta
Dolores directed by Peter Bart was one of choices for the Most Spiritually Literacy Documentaries of 2017. Now available on DVD, it celebrates her discipline, energy, and commitment which have inspired so many people and made her an admired role model in the Latina community.
A short but substantive overview of Huerta's passionate life of activism can be found on the Biography.com website.
Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers by Sarah Warren is designed for children from six to eight years old. Here is a YouTube preview of the book, which can be purchased from Amazon or your local bookstore.
More information on this leader's life and her work today can be found at the website for the Dolores Huerta Foundation, which is "creating networks of healthy, organized communities pursuing social justice through systemic and structural transformation."
Nearly 1.8 million people spend their days harvesting the crops and raising the livestock that end up on American plates. Often they work long hours in terrible conditions without steady salaries, paid vacation, or sick leave. Here is a statement by Dolores Huerta that you can use as a mantra through your day to remind you to express gratitude to farm workers: "Honor the hands that harvest your crops."
Another spiritual practice can be used at mealtimes. It is by Jan Chozen Bays from How to Train a Wild Elephant and Other Adventures in Mindfulness.
"When you eat, take a moment to look into the food or drink as if you could see backward, into its history. Use the power of imagination to see where it comes from and how many people might have been involved in bringing it to your plate. Think of the people who planted, weeded, and harvested the food, the truckers who transported it, the food packagers and plant workers, the grocers and checkout people, and the family members or other cooks who prepared the food. Thank those people before you take a sip or a bite."
For more things you can do to support those who bring food to your household, see The Food Activist Handbook: Big and Small Things You Can Do to Help Provide Fresh, Healthy Food for Your Community.