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Dolores Huerta: Her Life, Her Activism And The Smithsonian Exhibit

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For the first time ever, the Smithsonian Institution is honoring a Latina in their “One Life Series.” The museum is featuring civil rights leader and farmworker activist Dolores Huerta with a special exhibit opening this week in Washington D.C. The “One Life: Dolores Huerta” will follow 13 years of her activism and focus on her role in the farmworker movement of the 1960s and 70s.

In this interview Valley Public Radio’s Diana Aguilera chats with Huerta about this recent acknowledgment, her life and her years of activism.

Dolores Huerta will be joining the list of influential individuals who’ve been featured in The National Portrait Gallery’s exhibit including President Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley and Martin Luther King Jr. She says she shares this recognition with countless of people who fought for their rights during the farmworker movement.

HUERTA: “I’m going to be in the exhibit but I’m there on the shoulders and the backs of so many people that did the work.”

The 85-year-old activist hopes the exhibit will bring awareness and encourage farmworkers to continue to fight for their rights.

HUERTA: “I think it’s always good that we can carry the message, remind people and reflect upon the work that we still need to do because we know that the path to justice is a long, long path.”

The Bakersfield resident was the first woman to organize, lobby and negotiate on behalf of migrant workers in California. As the UFW’s contract negotiator Huerta fought for better working conditions for farmworkers. Huerta says there was one person who inspired her throughout her life.

HUERTA: “Growing up my mother always said that when you see people that need help it’s your duty to help them … and once I learned about organizing, how you could bring people together, and how you can teach them how to fight for themselves I thought “Oh my God” this is like magic.”

The exhibit One Life: Dolores Huerta will feature photos, artwork, and UFW memorabilia.

HUERTA: “I’m there representing all of the farmworkers throughout the state of California and the country, the immigrants fighting for justice and of course all of the women out there. Si se puede.”

The series opens July 3 and runs through next May in Washington D.C.

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