Santa Clara University

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Dolores Huerta

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One of the most influential labor leaders of the twentieth century, Dolores Huerta’s journey began while teaching in Stockton in the 1950s when she could no longer bear to see her students come to school with empty stomachs and bare feet; thus began her lifelong journey of working to correct economic, social, and political injustice. While most of her significant achievements have been made through the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) which she co-founded with César Chávez in 1966, she continues to improve the lives of workers, immigrants and women through the Dolores Huerta Foundation, established with a $100,000 award from the Puffin Foundation as recipient of the 2002 Prize for Creative Citizenship. 

The Foundation is dedicated to creating networks of healthy, organized communities pursuing social justice through systemic and structural transformation. With a focus on civic engagement, health and environment, education, economic development, and youth development, Ms. Huerta sees the work of the foundation as a continuation of the non-violent civil rights movement of the 1970s. 

Inducted into the California Hall of Fame in March 2013, she has received many awards, including the Eleanor D. Roosevelt Award for Humans Rights from President Clinton in l998, the Ohtli Award from the Mexican Government, and Nine Honorary Doctorates from Universities throughout the U.S. In 2012 President Obama bestowed Dolores with her most prestigious award, The U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.

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