California Educator

April/May 2024

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Page 17 of 61

lines in the fields of Delano in the 1960s — and her words have been just as moving more recently in support of educa- tors and CTA. "I'm very proud to be in the same space as CTA and the great work that teachers are doing. To be able to stand with teachers is a great honor," says Huerta. " Teachers are the foundation of our democracy and the soul of our nation. We've got to give teachers the respect they deserve and the resources they need." Starting in the 1960s, Huerta worked with fellow labor hero Cesar Chavez, first meeting at Fred Ross' Community Ser- vice Organization and leading United Farm Workers together for decades, where she coined the phrase "sí, se puede." In 2003, she established the Dolores Huerta Foundation Iconic labor organizer continues to stand with educators, fight for public schools By Julian Peeples Dolores Huerta Photograph by Joe Brusky C e l e b r a t i n g "Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every per- son a potential activist," said Dolores Huerta. "Every minute is a chance to change the world." For more than six decades, the legendary organizer and activist has led the fight for civil rights, jobs with justice and safe, supportive communities for children and families, inspiring generations to fight for an America where everyone has a chance to succeed and thrive. As we celebrate Huerta and her lifelong teachings on her 94th birthday April 10 — Dolores Huerta Day — it's only appropriate that she spent the last months of her 93rd year making "good trouble": rallying with in-home support workers in Bakersfield and leading a massive conference in a "sí, se puede" ("yes, we can") chant in Texas. Huerta's presence in labor struggles in the Central Valley and throughout California is a constant for as long as most can remember — and her connection to public schools, educators and CTA is storied. She grew up in Stockton and studied to become a teacher, earning her credential at San Joaquin Delta Community College in the early 1950s. But seeing the condition of her students as they came to school every day cut her time in the classroom short, as she decided to take a different path to help children and families in need. From her work co-founding the United Farm Workers and shining a light on the most invisible workers in Amer- ica to fighting for voting rights, stronger communities and resources for public education, Huerta's efforts and words have inspired since farmworkers first started walking picket "I want students to get a sense of their own empowerment and the things they can do to make the world a better place." 16 Spotlight

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