As some of my characters are farmworkers or children of farmworkers, this article about Dolores Huerta is not only relevant, but timely.
Oh by the way, I organized a grape strike in my high school. No California grapes in the cafeteria. It was 1968 and I was 17. Viva la Huelga! — Jane.
In 1965, Huerta rallied people from coast to coast to back the Delano grape strike in California. She and César Chávez were demanding better compensation and protections for farmworkers. She won that battle—but not until 1970 when farmworkers were at last awarded a new contract. It took until 1975 to pass a new law that gave that same collective-bargaining power to farmworkers across California.
Her actions reverberated nationwide, changing working conditions on the ground for some of the most underrepresented and marginalized people in America.
“Sí se puede,” Huerta said back then, coining the slogan that would later inspire millions to vote for President Barack Obama. “Yes, we can.”
Quote from Delores Huerta:
“We have to just tell the young people to be patient. The one thing is not to give up. They have to keep their eye on the prize.
“I remember when we were doing the grape boycott, I was back east in New York City and I would come back to Delano and we hadn’t won yet. I always felt so bad because I thought, What am I going to say to the workers? What I would say to the workers: ‘We’re working very hard.’ They say, ‘Don’t worry, Dolores. We’re going to win. We’re going to win.’”
“The thing is that as long as you understand that you’re going to win, you have to be patient and you have to definitely use nonviolence.
“I really feel very, very hopeful. I think that out of all of this chaos and because of all the social media that the young people have, all of the devices that they have, that they’re really going to be able to make changes.
“We have got to start realizing that we are all brothers and sisters. We are all our cousins. We are all related.”
See the full Dolores Huerta article here, at Glamour Magazine.