Feliz Cumpleaños, Dolores Huerta! You may know her by her iconic words: Sí, se puede. Reflecting on Huerta’s legacy on her 91st birthday Saturday and the statewide designated Dolores Huerta Day (also celebrated in New Mexico, Texas and Washington), the words, Ella sí puede also come to mind.
“Si se puede has two connotations: “It means yes I can and yes we can,” Dolores Huerta told 23ABC virtually from her family’s birthday celebration of her special day. “We can’t change things by ourselves. We have to all work together, to create a better world.”
It’s a phrase that captures the spirit of the Farmworkers’ Movement from the 20th century she co-led alongside Cesar Chavez in the u.s., and that originated in kern county.
Cesar Chavez Legacy: It all started with a vision
“I was very blessed to participate and help build that movement,” Huerta said.
You may also know her as the co-founder of the United Farm Workers Association, United Farm Workers Union, and the Dolores Huerta Foundation.
“One thing we try to make people understand is that they have power to change their situation, and better their conditions,” Huerta said. “And they shouldn’t wait for someone to come do it for them.”
The activist took a break from her socially distanced family party where she says all were vaccinated, and zoomed in birthday wishes from elected officials around the state including Rudy Salas, to reminisce with 23ABC on her continued pursuit of justice.
“To have that recognition, it always makes me feel very humble,” Huerta said.
Not even the pandemic can stop her and the Dolores Huerta Foundation. According to DHF, Huerta and DHF have launched virtual gathering spaces for community organizers, distributed food to thousands of families, over 100,000 masks, and other health and financial services.
They’ve even deployed 70 canvassers in four counties in the pursuit of COVID-19 prevention outreach, education, and the promotion of vaccines.
“Do it for yourself, do it for your family and do it for your community and do it for the world, because we know that it’s the only way we can stop the pandemic, or control it,” Huerta said.
Huerta’s agenda doesn’t end there: as 23ABC previously reported, DHF and Huerta are planning on opening the Dolores Huerta Peace and Justice Cultural Center in Downtown Bakersfield. it will be a cultural hub, child care center, credit union, and education center.
“We know that our children of color are way behind, especially during the pandemic,” Huerta said. “So we’re active in about 17 different school districts, organizing the parents, organizing the students, so they can make recommendations to the school district, to make sure the parents are actively engaged in helping their students.”
DHF will celebrate Dolores' 91st birthday with a live-stream benefit on Saturday, May 22nd. This will also be an effort to raise money for the Dolores Huerta Peace and Justice Center campus. Huerta said the livestream will even feature entertainers and celebrities.
In the meantime, you can also celebrate Huerta’s birthday by checking out The Dolores Huerta Revolution in the Fields/Revolución en los Campos exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.