BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — We’ve seen murals of her mother, Dolores Huerta, and her uncle, Cesar Chávez, two leaders of the farm workers movement.
Now, Camila Chávez has her own mural in her honor as a James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award recipient, just days before Cesar’s birthday.
“Dolores Huerta is a demigoddess, but there’s also Camila Chávez. Camila is her own woman and is her own power source in this community,” said Leticia Perez.
As Supervisor Leticia Perez said, Camila Chávez has the blood of changemakers running through her veins. As the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, she’s a leader in her own way.
“I’m thankful for them, and your entire family, but I’m thankful that you’ve used that power, and that knowledge to empower others,” said Alex Padilla.
Assembly member Rudy Salas said the James Irvine Foundation took notice, making Chávez one of seven recipients of their leadership award.
The foundation awarded Chávez and DHF $250,000, and this mural commissioned in Chávez’s honor.
It’s the work DHF is doing in the communities most impacted by voting apathy and the pandemic, that Camila believes the foundation recognized.
“We are really working to organize, to engage community members, who may not think they can make a difference, and we’re teaching and coaching and showing them how. And they are becoming their own leaders.”
The mural might be commissioned in Camila Chávez’s honor, but you may notice that she’s not actually in it. Muralist Brandon Thompson said it shows her selflessness.
“She really is about the community, is about the youth, so much that all of the visual imagery, she’s able to share a message without including her actual face. Dolores Huerta with a megaphone in itself is a powerful image, especially adding the youth with the podium. It’s just a powerful piece,” said Thompson.
Chávez’s work has spanned almost two decades. She said despite the pandemic, DHF got 84,000 people across central valley to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census.
They got over 3,000 community residents to help the organization draw and advocate for maps at their local jurisdictions.
“We’ve gotten voting rights act maps adopted in the city of Tulare, Bakersfield, the city school district, and last week, we had a major victory with Bakersfield City Council which has adopted a map with three voting rights acts districts,” said Chávez.
Chávez tells 23ABC that the $250,000 grant from the award will go toward launching and organizing academy housing in the future Dolores Huerta Peace and Justice Center in downtown Bakersfield.