10th annual César Chávez Convocation at UCSC features Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta
Dolores Huerta has played a major role in the American civil rights movement for more than 50 years. (Photo courtesy Dolores Huerta Foundation)

Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is the scheduled keynote speaker at the 10th Annual César Chávez Convocation at UC Santa Cruz Tuesday, May 7 at the College Nine and Ten Multipurpose Room.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., program begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free but tickets are required and may be obtained by calling 831-459-2427 or emailing elcentro@ucsc.edu.

Huerta, who recently celebrated her 83rd birthday, has played a major role in the American civil rights movement for more than 50 years.  In 1962, with César Chávez, she co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which would later become United Farm Workers union. Chávez died 20 years ago at age 66.

She led the national table grape boycott in support of the farm workers strike, bringing the plight of farm workers to the forefront of the American consumer. The boycott was supported by an estimated 17 million Americans and led to the passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, the first law granting farm workers the right to collectively organize and bargain for better wages and working conditions.

In 1975, she pushed for legislation granting amnesty to farm workers who had lived, worked, and paid taxes in the United States for many years but were not extended the privileges of citizenship. Her efforts resulted in the Immigration Act of 1985 in which 1.4 million farm workers received amnesty.

Last year, she was inducted into the U.S. Department of Labor Hall of Honor and President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. This past March she was inducted into the California Hall of Fame.

Today, Huerta is the president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation where she continues her work as an advocate for women’s rights, and reproductive freedom. She continues working to develop community leaders, for working poor, immigrants, women, and youth.  Huerta is a tireless participant on organizational forums and programs that focus on issues of social justice and public policy.

She is a founding board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation and also serves on the board of Ms. Magazine.  She has received numerous awards including the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award from President Clinton in 1998. In 1997, Ms. named her one of the three most important women of the year.

She is a former UC Regent and has earned 11 honorary doctorates from universities throughout the United States.

Huerta spoke at the first César Chávez Convocation at UCSC in 2004. The convocation is produced by College Ten Co-Curricular Programs, El Centro-Chicano Latino Resource Center and C.A.R.E. (Community and Resource Empowerment e2).

Sponsors include the UCSC Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Divisions of Humanities and Graduate Studies, Provosts of Colleges Nine and Ten, Cowell, Porter, and Oake, and MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán).

Co-sponsors include The Center for Labor Studies, Latin American and Latino studies, Division of Social Sciences, Provosts of Kresge, Merrill, and College Eight, the Dean of Students and Campus Life, Retention Services the College Senates of Cowell, Crown, Eight, Kresge, Merrill, Nine, Oakes, Porter, Stevenson and Ten.