united farm workers union

At 87, Dolores Huerta is a living civil rights icon. She has spent most of her life as a political activist, fighting for better working conditions for farmworkers and the rights of the downtrodden, a firm believer in the power of political organizing to effect change.

And yet, her role in the farmworkers movement has long been overshadowed by that of Cesar Chavez, her longtime collaborator and co-founder of what became the United Farm Workers of America union. That’s true even when it comes to credit for coining the movement’s famous slogan, Sí se puede — Spanish for “Yes, we can” — which inspired President Obama’s own campaign battle cry and has often wrongly been attributed to Chavez. (Obama acknowledged Huerta as the source of that phrase when he awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. She talks about its origins below.)

Dolores, a new documentary from director Peter Bratt, aims to finally set the record straight.

Dolores Huerta: The Civil Rights Icon Who Showed Farmworkers ‘Sí Se Puede’

Photo: George Ballis//George Ballis/Take Stock/The Image Work

Today in labor history, September 8, 1965: Filipino American grape workers walk out on strike against Delano, California, table and wine grape growers, protesting years of poor pay and working conditions. Latino farm workers soon joined them, and the strike and subsequent boycott lasted more than five years. In 1970, growers signed their first union contracts with the United Farm Workers union, which included better pay, benefits, and protections.

Via @ImmigrantAP: "We need to help students and parents cherish and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens this community - and this nation." - Cesar Chavez, American farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist, who, with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers union, UFW).