Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.


Embracing Leadership

Embracing Leadership

More From Dolores

In this video

Huerta on how Cesar Chavez compelled her to step up and be a leader. 

Dolores's Biography

Cause of Choice: Dolores Huerta Foundation
Favorite Quote: “Respecting other people’s rights is peace.” — Benito Juarez, former president of Mexico.
Role Models: Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Eleanor Smeal, Peg Yorkin, and the leader of her childhood Girl Scout troupe.
Mother Hen: She is the mother of 11 children.

Dolores Huerta is a union leader and an activist for the rights of farm workers and women. Along with Cesar Chavez, she founded the first successful farm workers union in the country, the United Farm Workers, in 1962. She is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Huerta was born in New Mexico in 1930, where her father was a union activist and state legislator. Following her parents divorce, Dolores moved with her mother to California’s farm-filled San Joaquin Valley. She was inspired to fight for workers rights when, as a young school teacher, she noticed that many of her students were showing up to school ill or malnourished. “I thought I could do more by organizing farm workers than teaching their hungry children,” she says.
To further her cause, she founded the Agricultural Workers Association in 1960 and used the organization to lobby politicians on a variety of issues pertaining to the rights of migrant workers. She left the AWA just two years later, when she and Cesar Chavez founded what would come to be known as the United Farm Workers union.
Over several decades, Huerta would play a critical role in many of the union’s accomplishments, including the strikes against California grape growers in the 1960s and the enactment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975. Often she risked life and limb in order to ensure the rights of farm workers—in 1988, a San Francisco police officer beat her so badly that she was left with several broken ribs and a ruptured spleen.
Huerta has since stepped down from her position at the UFW, but she continues to lecture on worker’s issues and women’s issues around the country. In addition to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she has received numerous awards and recognitions—among them the Eleanor Roosevelt Humans Rights Award from President Clinton in l998the Ohtli award from the Mexican Government, and nine honorary doctorates from Universities throughout the United States.

Related Videos

Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham
Writer, Director, Actor, Producer

Dunham began making films while pursuing her undergraduate degree at Oberlin College. After she graduated in 2008, Dunham made Tiny Furniture, a film centered on the struggles of p...

Loretta Ross
Loretta Ross
Feminist Organizer

Human and women's rights activist Loretta Ross co-founded and served as National Coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, a network that or...

Carrie Brownstein
Carrie Brownstein
Musician & Actor

Born and raised in Washington, Portlandia's Carrie Brownstein started her career in music at The Evergreen State College. It was 1995 when she became the guitarist and vocalist...

Bethany Hamilton
Bethany Hamilton
Professional Surfer

Born into a family of surfers in Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany Hamilton has been surfing almost as long as she has been walking. Entering her first competition around age four, and sponso...