Feminist Majority Foundation board member and lifelong feminist activist Dolores Huerta was honored by the National Portrait Gallery last night as the first Latina person to have a featured exhibition at the museum.
Huerta is an active defender of civil rights, farm workers’ rights, women’s rights, and immigrant rights, and has been for over five decades. She was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2011 for her tireless work. She also founded the Dolores Huerta Foundation for organizing and advancing human rights.
Huerta is often considered unparalleled in her skill in grassroots organizing, and has celebrated many successes. She co-founded with César Chavez the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). Huerta was also instrumental in the enactment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, and was a principle UFW negotiator with major growers.
Huerta, a leading women’s rights advocate, joined the Feminist Majority Foundation board and the board of its sister organization the Feminist Majority, in 1988.She was a leader of the Feminist Majority’s Feminization of Power campaign to inspire women to run for public offices.
The National Portrait Gallery exhibition is titled “One Life: Dolores Huerta,” and “highlights the significant role of this Latina leader in the California farm workers movement of the 1960s and 70s.” It is the first national museum to feature Huerta’s many accomplishments.
At the premier event for the exhibition Wednesday, Executive Director of the Latino Museum Estuardo Rodriguez said that he hopes the national and international attention that the National Portrait Gallery receives has will greatly increase visibility for Huerta and her causes. “Tonight is an example of the stories that should be in our history books,” Rodriguez said. He also spoke to Huerta’s determined spirit, remarking on her willingness to go to great lengths for what she believes in. “For Dolores Huerta,” he said, “nothing is inconvenient if it’s for a cause.”
Of the exhibition, curator Taina Caragol writes, “Huerta was instrumental in achieving major legal protections and a better standard of living for farm workers, yet she remains largely under-acknowledged in history.” The exhibition, which opens in July 2015 and closes in May 2016, will also coincide with the 50th anniversary of the historic 1965 grape strike launched by Huerta and the farm workers movement. The exhibition includes artifacts from Huerta’s many protests, portraits of her as an activist, and even her Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Media Resources: WhiteHouse.gov 2011; Dolores Huerta Foundation; National Portrait Gallery “One Life”;