Huerta Center naming inspires full-circle gift

The naming of the Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas hits close to home for a UCSC staff member with a family connection

Annette Marines with her father and Dolores Huerta
Annette Marines, her father Ines Marines (left), and Dolores Huerta (right) at the 2023 Social Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award event for Peter Bratt, director of the DOLORES documentary, April 26, 2023.
Annette Marines as a toddler held by Cesar Chavez
When she was a toddler, Annette Marines's family was nominated to host Cesar Chavez. Chavez is pictured holding her. Marines's mother, Mercedes Marines, stands with them. Photo: courtesy of Annette Marines
Growing up in the agricultural powerhouse of Pajaro, CA, Annette Marines was immersed in the life of California farmworkers. Her father, Ines Marines, a first generation Mexican-American, was proud of his job working in the fields, and he quickly emerged as a resource in the community of primarily migrant families. Though she and her younger brother did not work in the fields, her older siblings did rely on fieldwork for summer jobs. Their family life was centered on their father’s dedication to farmworkers' rights.

She remembers attending rallies with her family, representing the United Farm Workers; their home was frequented by community members seeking advice or assistance from her father. She recalls a family photo taken in her childhood home—she was a toddler in the arms of one of the most influential labor union activists, Cesar Chavez, who was standing with her mother. Chavez was in Watsonville meeting with a group of nationwide union leaders, and her father was nominated by his peers to host Chavez for dinner.

“Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta were household names,” said Marines, who is McHenry Library’s Arts & Humanities librarian. “But I didn’t realize the impact of their work until I was older—that being able to go to the dentist or doctor was a privilege of having a union contract.”

When Marines learned that the Research Center for the Americas at UC Santa Cruz would be renamed the Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas (Huerta Center), she knew instantly that she wanted to support the fundraising efforts. Marines is proud to be among the first donors to make a significant gift to the Huerta Center.

Center focused on socio-political issues in the Americas

“UCSC, as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, has ramped up its marketing of services and resources available to students in the Chicano and Latino communities,” Marines said. “Resources like the Huerta Center have the potential to show them that they belong, that they are seen.”

“The fact that UCSC named the center in honor of a leader who is the salt of the earth, who used her voice to make a huge difference in the lives of workers and the vulnerable—that is what heartens me and moved me to make a gift. I hope it inspires students to make an impact in their own communities.”

Established in 1992 as the Research Center for the Americas, the Huerta Center was the first research center in the University of California system to bring together scholars in Latinx, Latin American, human rights, and migration studies. The center’s programming and research address ongoing humanitarian, environmental and socio-political issues throughout the Americas. Marines gift will help amplify this work.

Huerta, a former UC Regent, has dedicated her life to advocating for social justice for underrepresented communities, particularly farmworkers. Among her many accomplishments, as co-founder (with Chavez) of the National Farmworkers Association, now the United Farm Workers, she advocated for safer working conditions, benefits, and pensions for farmworkers.


Marines witnessed that same dedication and deep compassion in her father, who, on a local level in Watsonville, became an approachable community resource. He was known for helping to organize labor unions and passing along skills he learned from Chavez and Huerta, including how to read contracts and understand their implications.

“My father cared about his community and spent his life helping people. Because he was an American citizen and could speak English, if lost his job because he spoke up, he was confident he could get another one. Others did not have that luxury.” said Marines. “I brought my father to the screening of the documentary film on Dolores’ life (DOLORES, 2017, director: Peter Bratt, Cowell ’86, politics) to show him the way the movement he was part of was being honored and celebrated. Dolores pointed to my father and said, ‘de hueso colorado,’ which translates to ‘die-hard.’”

“A beautiful moment”

“When I found out that Annette had made the gift, I got emotional,” said Sylvanna Falcón, director of the Huerta Center and associate professor of Latin American and Latino Studies, who has been a friend and colleague of Marines for years. “This was a full-circle, generous gift inspired because we renamed the center after one of her heroes. It is a tribute to her father and her own life story. It was a beautiful moment.”

“As a librarian, Annette understands the value of having a research center that does work on social issues that matter to people,” said Falcón. “This gift helps ensure that students have support and resources to graduate and become changemakers in the world, like Dolores.”