Dolores Huerta Documentary: PBS To Release Film Of Iconic Defiant Feminist, Activist [VIDEO]

Dolores Huerta
One of the most important, yet least known activists of our time, Dolores Huerta, shares an intimate and inspiring portrait of her life. "Dolores" tells the story of one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century. Courtesy

One of the most important, yet least known activists of our time, Dolores Huerta, shares her story on a Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD documentary that showcase how she and César Chávez -equal partner in founding the first farm workers union worked tirelessly to lead the fight for racial and labor justice. “Dolores” is an educational film to introduce to new generations and remind the old ones, how Huerta evolved into one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century — and still continues the fight to this day, at 87.

Dolores Huerta United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta participates in a rally to protest draconian punishment of women and gay people announced by the Sultan of Brunei outside the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is owned by the Sultan, on May 5, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. The Sultan of Brunei is planning to implement a brand of Sharia Penal Code which calls for the stoning of people for various offenses including homosexual acts, adultery, sodomy and extramarital sexual relations, a move that has been criticized by The United Nations. David McNew/Getty Images

The film will be available on March 27, 2018. It has a run time of 90 minutes, and will also be available for digital download. With unprecedented access to this intensely private mother of eleven, the film chronicles Huerta’s life from her childhood in Stockton to her early years with the United Farm Workers, from her work with the headline-making grape boycott launched in 1965 to her role in the feminist movement of the 70s to her continued work as a fearless activist.

Featuring interviews with Gloria Steinem, Luis Valdez, Hillary Clinton, Angela Davis, her children and more, “Dolores ” is an intimate and inspiring portrait of a passionate champion of the oppressed and an indomitable woman willing to accept the personal sacrifices involved in committing one’s life to social change.

“In the 1970s, the national grape boycott that Dolores Huerta helped organize played out in the small rural Minnesota farming community where I grew up — supported by our Catholic church along with tens of thousands of religious organizations across the country,” said Lois Vossen, Independent Lens executive producer. “More than 40 years later, Dolores is still an indefatigable architect for social change on behalf of poor, underrepresented people, urging them to seek self-determination with her refrain ‘Si Se Puede’ (‘Yes We Can’).” 

Dolores Clara Fernández was born on April 10, 1930, in Dawson, a small mining town in New Mexico; she spent most of her childhood and early adult life in Stockton, California, where she and her two brothers moved with their mother following her parents’ divorce. Independent and entrepreneurial, her mother was an active participant in community affairs.

After graduating from high school, Dolores earned a teaching degree, married and had two daughters. Seeing her students come to school with empty stomachs and bare feet inspired her lifelong commitment to correcting economic injustice. She found her calling as an organizer while serving in the leadership of the Stockton Community Service Organization (CSO). During this time, she founded the Agricultural Workers Association, set up voter registration drives and pressed local governments for barrio  improvements.

 Dolores Huerta Honoree Dolores Huerta speaks onstage at ACLU SoCal Hosts Annual Bill of Rights Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on December 3, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

It was in 1955 that she would meet a likeminded colleague, CSO Executive Director César E. Chávez. The two soon discovered that they shared a common vision of organizing farm workers and in 1962 they launched the National Farm Workers Association, which would evolve into the United Farm Workers and bring national attention to the conditions faced by farm laborers.

Dolores’s lobbying and negotiating talents helped secure Aid for Dependent Families (AFDC) and disability insurance for farm workers; she was also instrumental in the enactment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, which granted California’s farm workers the right to collectively organize and bargain for better wages and working conditions. While the farm workers lacked financial capital, they were able to wield significant economic power through hugely successful national boycotts. As their principal legislative advocate, Dolores became one of the UFW’s most visible spokespersons.

While directing the first National Boycott of California Table Grapes out of New York, Huerta met Gloria Steinem and was introduced to the burgeoning feminist movement which rallied behind the farm workers’ cause. Having found a supportive voice with other feminists, Huerta began to challenge gender discrimination within the farm workers’ movement.

At age 58, Dolores suffered a life-threatening assault while protesting against the policies of then presidential candidate George Bush in San Francisco. Following a lengthy recovery, she began to focus on women’s rights, traversing the country on behalf of the Feminist Majority’s “Feminization of Power: 50/50 by the Year 2000” campaign which encouraged Latinas to run for office.

Dolores continues to work tirelessly developing leaders and advocating for the working poor, women, and children as founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. She was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in March of 2013 and has received numerous awards including The Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award from President Clinton in 1998, Ladies Home Journal ’s “100 Most Important Woman of the 20th Century,” and nine Honorary Doctorates from U.S. universities. In 2012, President Barack Obama bestowed Dolores with her most prestigious award, The Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Dolores Huerta Civil rights and women's advocate Dolores Huerta is presented with a Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama during an East Room event May 29, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. The Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, is presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

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Shirley Gomez has been exposed to many aspects of the art world. Besides being a Fashion Journalist, she studied Fashion Styling and Fashion Styling for Men at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Interior Design at UNIBE and Fashion Design at ITSMJ Fashion School in the Dominican Republic. She worked as a Fashion Journalist, Fashion Stylist and Social Media Manager at one of the most recognized magazines in the Dominican Republic, Oh! Magazine, as an occasional Entertainment Journalist, of the prestigious newspaper “Listín Diario”, as well as a fashion collaborator of a radio show aired in 100.9 FM SuperQ. When Shirley is not writing you can find her listening Demi Lovato or Beyonce's songs, decorating her apartment or watching Family Feud.