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Rebel, Activist, Feminist & Mother: Farmworker Organizer Dolores Huerta Profiled in New Documentary

Web ExclusiveSeptember 05, 2017
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A remarkable new film, now in theaters, chronicles one of the greatest civil rights leaders in United States history. It’s called "Dolores," about Dolores Huerta, the legendary co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association, which went on to become the United Farm Workers of America. We air excerpts from the film and speak to Dolores Huerta.

Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. And, yes, a remarkable new film is now in theaters that chronicles one of the greatest civil rights leaders in this country’s history. It’s called Dolores. Yes, our guest, Dolores Huerta, the legendary co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association, which went on to become the United Farm Workers of America. This is the trailer.

DOLORES HUERTA: After I had seen the miserable conditions of farmworkers, Cesar Chavez said, "We have to organize a union." You had this ambiance all around you that you could really change the world.

REPORTER: It was, beyond question, the largest gathering on behalf of farmworkers in California history.

PROTESTER: I wish they’d all go back to where they came from. We have no labor troubles.

UNIDENTIFIED: She wasn’t asking for permission. She just did what needed to be done.

ELISEO MEDINA: She has such a firm belief in what she’s doing—

DOLORES HUERTA: We’ve never given up.

ELISEO MEDINA: —that she infects you with it.

Dolores Huerta.

DOLORES HUERTA: Ninety thousand people were poisoned in the fields of the United States of America.

RANDY SHAW: The farmworkers founded the whole idea of environmental justice.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s a clip from the new documentary, Dolores, which opens in theaters on September 1st. We’re joined in studio by Dolores Huerta, legendary civil rights activist, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation for community organizing.

It is wonderful to have you in our studio. We’ve interviewed you many times around the country, but you’ve never graced us here at Democracy Now!, so it’s so great to have you with us, Dolores. Talk about how you came to organize the United Farm Workers.

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, I was very blessed in meeting this great human being named Fred Ross Sr., who actually recruited Cesar and myself in house meetings.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re talking about Cesar Chavez.

DOLORES HUERTA: Cesar Chavez. And he told us how we could really change the world.

AMY GOODMAN: And Fred’s name is?

DOLORES HUERTA: Fred Ross Sr. And we belonged to another organization called the Community Service Organization. And when we tried to get that organization to support a union of farmworkers, they refused. And so then Cesar and I went off. We left that organization and began the United Farm Workers.

AMY GOODMAN: How did you meet Cesar Chavez?

DOLORES HUERTA: In that organization, the Community Service Organization. Cesar was organizing in San Jose. I was organizing in Stockton. And the one thing that we did have in common was the whole plight of farmworkers. And so, then we made a plan on how we could organize a farmworkers’ union, but the Community Service Organization did not support us on that plan. So we both left the CSO and started the United Farm Workers.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to take a step back. A lot is known about Dr. Martin Luther King, about Cesar Chavez, not as much about you, although, of course, the people you’ve worked with over the years, the number, the millions of people you’ve affected. And so, I want to go back to where you were born and how you came to do what you do.

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, I was born in the state of New Mexico and moved to Stockton when I was 6 years old. My parents divorced, and my mother took us to Stockton. And that’s where I was raised, and that’s where I started my initial organizing, in that area.

AMY GOODMAN: And how did you, as a teenager, decide that organizing was going to be the path of your life, and specifically working with farmworkers?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, that was kind of accidental, as where I grew up, Stockton, California, is an agricultural community. And as a youngster, I was a Girl Scout for 10 years of my life, and I was in a lot of different social clubs. But when I met Mr. Ross and he showed us what we could actually do by coming together and organizing and taking direct nonviolent action, then I was really—I thought, "Oh, my goodness! This is what I want to do with my life." And so, I became a schoolteacher, then I left teaching to go to Delano to start the union there.

AMY GOODMAN: And farmworkers themselves, the grape boycott that you helped to lead, the worker strikes, talk about how you organized them. What was the strategy? And then talk about your response to the impact that it had.

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, the thing is that when people think about the strike and the—it’s very dramatic, colorful. But what they don’t see is like the three years before the strike, where we organize workers in house meetings. And this is the method that Fred Ross taught us, by meeting in people’s homes, you know, one family at a time, and then bringing them all together. And this is the same kind of a method that we use today with my foundation, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, where we’re working on ending the school-to-prison pipeline, working on environmental issues, on economic issues and, you know, inspiring people that they—and motivating them that they have power, but that they can make the changes, but that they have to make the changes. No one can do it for them. And this is the kind of work that we do, using that same organizing method, one family at a time, one family at a time. And it’s very tedious, and it’s very time-consuming, but then the results are really wonderful.

We recently settled a lawsuit with our current high school district in California, in Bakersfield, for the expulsion and suspension of African-American and Latino students. And now they have to change their policies, and they have to change their procedures, to keep the students in school. And so, we’ll go out there, and we organize the parents, and then the parents are the ones that take on the—they become the leaders of making sure that some of these policies are changed.

AMY GOODMAN: When was the grape boycott?

DOLORES HUERTA: It was in 1968. We started the boycott in 1968.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain what it was. What was the strategy you took?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, the strategy was that we had farmworkers come out from California, and again using those same methods of meeting people in their homes and organizing groups throughout the United States and asking people to come and support, number one, to get people to picket the stores and ask people not to buy grapes. And at the end of the day, we had like 17 million people that were not eating grapes. And this is what brought the growers to the bargaining table.

AMY GOODMAN: What about Robert Kennedy’s role? How significant was it? And how did you and Cesar Chavez reach out to him?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, Senator Kennedy had been a supporter early on. He came to California. He had a hearing right in the middle of the strike. And there’s a very dramatic moment in the movie, Dolores, where Robert Kennedy tells the sheriff of Kern County and the district attorney to read the Constitution of the United States, because they were continuously arresting us, and so that we wouldn’t be—you know, we wouldn’t be able to picket. And so, he was a great supporter. And then, of course, we helped him very much in his campaign, when he was running for the presidency, by going out there and getting people out to vote.

AMY GOODMAN: When you hear about corporations suing activists—for example, you have Energy Transfer Partners suing Greenpeace and other groups, calling them "eco-terrorists"—do you identify with the organizers, the people who are under attack? And did you experience anything like this over the years in your organizing?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, yes, we did. But we also sued them, you know, for one of the suits that we filed against the Farm Bureau Federation and the Teamsters union. It was the coming together—their coming together to come and—to come and to take away the contracts of the United Farm Workers. And I think that this new tactic that they’re having now—we know that we have friends of ours that were able to end fracking in Monterey County, and then Chevron is turning around and suing them and trying to stop us—trying to stop them from ending the fracking. So, I think this is a new tactic that obviously the oil companies and the energy companies are using to try to stop the progress of the environmental organizations.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about worker strikes in the 1960s that you helped to lead?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, again, the strikes took place after many, many years of organizing people at the grassroots level and to prepare them and, you know, to let them know that they have the power to make the changes. and if they don’t make the changes, that those changes are not going to be made. And I think, in terms of today—and this is what—why we hope that people will see the film, because, again, this is a message that we want to get out there. We know we have a lot of obstacles right now, but the only way that we’re going to be able to overcome those obstacles is by everybody.

But, you know, Amy, I do want to say one thing. I think it’s wonderful and it’s great that we have like 40,000 people protesting in Boston against the alt-right and the neo-Nazis, and we have all of these marches, like the Women’s March and the other marches that have taken place. But we’ve got to march to the polls, we’ve got to march to the ballot box, because if people do not vote, then we really can’t change the policies. And we know that many of the things that we fought for in the ’60s and ’70s and the ’80s, you know, are now being rolled back. And the only way that we can stop this is by really electing progressive people to all of our different public offices, at the local level and especially at the national level.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to a clip of your film, Dolores.

AUDIENCE: ¡Sí se puede!

ARTURO RODRIGUEZ: ¡Sí se puede!

AUDIENCE: ¡Sí se puede!

ARTURO RODRIGUEZ: For Cesar, "¡Sí se puede!" wasn’t just a slogan.

DOLORES HUERTA: When people in Arizona said—they told me, "No, Dolores, no se puede. You can’t do this in Arizona. Only in California," my response to them was "¡Sí se puede!"

¡Sí se puede! ¡Sí se puede!

MICHELLE MILLER: Hers was the rallying cry that would later come to define the presidential campaign of candidate Barack Obama.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Yes, we can.

ORGANIZER: Have you heard President Obama say, "Yes, we can"? It came from Cesar Chavez: "¡Sí se puede!"

ANGELA DAVIS: Dolores Huerta came up with the slogan "¡Sí se puede!" And we all attribute that to Cesar Chavez, even Barack Obama. Of course, when he gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he had to correct himself.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: On a personal note, Dolores was very gracious when I told her I had stolen her slogan, "¡Sí se puede! Yes, we can!" Knowing her, I’m pleased that she let me off easy, because Dolores does not play.

AMY GOODMAN: That was a clip from the documentary Dolores. So, "¡Sí se puede!" was your phrase.

DOLORES HUERTA: Mm-hmm, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: When did you come up with it?

DOLORES HUERTA: In Arizona, actually, in 1972, when Cesar was fasting, was doing a 25-day water-only fast, kind of to take the hatred out of the hearts of the growers. That’s the way that he put it. And so, we were trying to organize people to come and to join us, and speaking to a group of professional Latinos, asking them to come and join us. And they said, "No, you can’t do this in Arizona. Only in California. No se puede. No, you can’t." And my response to them was "Yes, we can. ¡Sí se puede!, in Arizona, the way that we organized in California."

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to another clip of the film that’s now out in theaters around the country. This is Dolores, and the clip begins with the feminist icon Gloria Steinem.

GLORIA STEINEM: I didn’t really know Dolores before New York. But I think I was scared of her. I don’t think that Dolores thought I was worth the trouble, until I got Huntington Hartford to picket the A&P, which of course got press, because the heir to the A&P fortune was boycotting the A&P. After that, we became partners.

EMILIO HUERTA: My mother was raised a Catholic and very traditional. And prior to going to New York City, she really didn’t speak of feminism.

DOLORES HUERTA: I was in New York when the feminist movement was being born. But my mind was focused on getting all of those women at those conventions to support the farmworkers.

ANGELA DAVIS: There was a time when rarely could you discover women of color who would identify as feminists, because it was assumed to be a question simply of gender. And if it was a question simply of gender, that gender was white.

GLORIA STEINEM: When social justice movements arise in a patriarchal system, all kinds of false divisions are made.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that was Angela Davis and Gloria Steinem talking about Dolores. That’s Dolores Huerta. And the new film about her, that’s a clip. You are often seen in photographs with, oh, all your male colleagues. Can you talk about when you came to see the importance of the intersectionality of the labor movement, the women’s movement, people of color and the feminist movement?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, in order to be able to win, through the boycott, to begin with, we had to reach out to all of the different organizations, and, otherwise, we could not win. I mean, the 17 million Americans that stopped eating grapes, you know, included all of these different organizations. And so—and I think that’s one of the messages that we have today, is that, you know, the only way that we’re going to be able to, again, counter the Trump administration is that we’ve all got to work together. You know, we’ve all got to work on the environmental issues. We’ve all got to support labor unions. We’ve got to support the immigrant rights movement, etc., and the LGBT movement also, because we can’t be in our silos and win. We’ve all got to work together. I think that’s the lesson that we have from the boycott.

AMY GOODMAN: When you first came to know Gloria Steinem, your views on choice and abortion separated you both. Can you talk about how you took this on?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, I think Gloria helped me a lot, as did Ellie Smeal from the Feminist Majority, in terms of a—

AMY GOODMAN: You were originally anti-abortion.

DOLORES HUERTA: Oh, very much, yes, because I was a Catholic, and that’s the way that I had been taught and trained, like many Latina women out there. You know, even I think when we think of Latina women that may have voted for Trump, that was probably the issue that they did. And, you know, they haven’t really come to the realization, as I did, that, you know, a woman—the only way that you can control your life is to control your body in the first place and that that’s got to be a choice that women make, and you have to respect somebody else’s choice, in terms of how many children they want to have or not have. I like to say that my daughter Juanita likes to have dogs and not children, you know? And that’s her choice. And then we’ve got to respect that choice.

And women, yes, they do need to have the right to have an abortion if they need so. And I know that that’s one of the issues that the conservatives and the Republicans really focus on, but they really use that issue to subjugate women. And we know that we’ve got to have more feminists on all of these public boards. I like to say, if you don’t have women on those boards, they’re going to make the wrong decision.

AMY GOODMAN: Dolores Huerta, you mentioned your daughter Juanita. How many kids do you have?

DOLORES HUERTA: I have 11.

AMY GOODMAN: You have 11 kids. How did you have all these kids and do the organizing that you did?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, I had to ask for people to help me with my children. And then I dragged them around the country with me. But they all grew up very resourceful, very strong, and they survived.

AMY GOODMAN: You know, I think a really poignant part of the film was your children talking about what it was like to grow up with you and without you. And it was a very honest look, you know, a great deal of love and also—I wouldn’t say resentment, I would say an honest expression of their pain at not being able to spend the kind of time they wanted with you as they grew up. What was it like on your end of things?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, it’s—I knew that when I was leaving my children behind or when I was bringing them with me—say, for instance, bringing them to New York City here for the boycott—that it was always a painful experience. But on the other hand, you know, they kind of grew up in the movement, so they became very independent, they became very resourceful. And also, they realized that they had to kind of fend for themselves in some respects, you know. But we did have—in the farmworkers’ movement, we did have daycare for the kids. We had a Montessori school. And we had people that did help us. And, you know, my oldest son is a doctor. My second son is Emilio Huerta, is a public interest attorney who’s now running for Congress in the 21st Congressional District in California. And I have a daughter who’s a nurse. Juanita, my daughter, became a teacher. And so, they became very resourceful.

But I do want to encourage women out there: Don’t leave your kids behind. And, grandmothers, bring your grandchildren. Bring them to the marches. Bring them to the protests that you have, because, that way, they really live these experiences, and it makes them strong, and they feel the collective energy of people who are trying to fight for justice. So, you know, bring them along—it’s very important—as I did mine.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about taking on, for example, the Texas Board of Education, that would perhaps like to wipe out references to Cesar Chavez, to Dolores Huerta? Talk specifically about that and what has been done to try to fight back against that, to tell the story of the farmworkers in this country and how they helped build the United States.

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, that is a really, really big issue, because by taking out the stories of the contributions of Latinos, of African Americans—

AMY GOODMAN: Talk specifically about what they’re trying to do.

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, not only in Texas, but Arizona, they’re trying to really remove the history of the contributions of people like myself. You know, and if we—

AMY GOODMAN: Arizona, a judge just ruled against the attack on ethnic studies.

DOLORES HUERTA: Right. And we know that they’re trying to do this. And actually, when you think about it, in our school books, we don’t talk about the contributions of people from Mexico, you know, tilling the lands, building the railroads, or people from Asia, or indigenous—the indigenous Native Americans in our country that were the first slaves, or that the African slaves were the ones that built the White House and the Congress. And as long as we keep all of this history out of our school books, then that really adds to the racism and the bigotry that we’re seeing right now in our country.

So, I really encourage people to, you know, run for school board, get on those school boards. We’ve got to get labor studies, ethnic studies, women’s studies, LGBT studies into our history books. And it’s got to start at the kindergarten level, because now we see that racism has reared its ugly head, but it’s very, very visible. They’ve taken off the hoods, you know. And this is something that we, as people of color, have always suffered in this country, but now we know that we have to do something about it, because it is the cancer, and it’s destroying our society.

AMY GOODMAN: When you talk about the alt-right, the white supremacists, the Klan, the neo-Nazis taking off their hoods, perhaps there was nothing more chilling, some might have said—well, seeing people in hoods, that represent the Ku Klux Klan—but the fact that they felt comfortable enough to not wear those hoods, to not cover their faces, and yet march with their torches in Nazi-like fashion and say, "You will not replace us."

DOLORES HUERTA: And I think that’s what the president, Donald Trump, has done. He’s given people license to express their racism. And I think that’s what we’re seeing right now. And then we see what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, when you actually saw Heather, a white person, and the two white deputies that were also killed, you know, during that demonstration. So, I think that—I think this is a wake-up call for all of the United States of America, that all of us have got to step up, in private organizations and public organizations, that we’ve got to start addressing the issue of racism and misogyny, against women. And again, you know, what Trump is doing with the transgender ban in the military, this also hypes up the whole homophobia that we have in our country. So, this is like—to me, this is a call to action, a call to action for everybody.

AMY GOODMAN: Where was your mother and father born?

DOLORES HUERTA: In the United States. My grandparents were, honestly, born in the United States. I’m a fifth generation American. My great-grandfather was in the Civil War on the Union side. And that’s one of the things that we bring out in the film Dolores, is, even though—you know, I still have had trouble, as a teenager, to being treated like a United States citizen of this country. It’s because I happen to be Latina.

AMY GOODMAN: You, in a few years—you’re 87—will be 90 years old. What are your plans now? What are the projects you are taking on?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, with our foundation, we continue our grassroots organizing, because, you know, Amy, it’s almost like magic that we can, you know, raise money, hire an organizer. We send them into a community. They bring people together. They organize them through these house meetings. We build a base. And then they take on the issues in their community. And then they have to volunteer to do the work. And in volunteering, this is how we create the kind of leadership. So you leave something behind everywhere that you go, everywhere that you organize.

And then we encourage people to run, many of the residents. And these are people that are ordinary people. They don’t have a high school diploma. They don’t have a college diploma. But they’re serving on city councils, and they’re serving on school boards and recreation boards and utility districts. You know, we encourage them to run for office. And once they learn how to organize, they know how to get themselves elected.

We’re a (c)(3), the Dolores Huerta Foundation, but we also do have a (c)(4), where we can endorse candidates. And we do the civic engagement of making sure people register to vote, making sure that they get out to vote, so that they realize that they have the power at the local level. And once they have that power, they have to act on it. And this is how we are able to really take control of our country.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, what gives you hope? You were deeply involved in the presidential campaign. Ultimately, while President Trump lost the popular vote by millions, he did win. He became the 45th president of the United States. All of these issues you talk about, that you care about, each one very much under attack—what gives you hope?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, as an organizer, I always see things that are negative, like the presidency right now, as an organizing opportunity, because I really think, as I said, it’s a wake-up call. And people that were kind of out to lunch during the elections or people that, for some reason or the other, decided not to vote, that now they realize that we’ve all got to take action. It’s up to every single one of us. And there’s a line in the film, Dolores, by Robert Kennedy, where he—just before he got killed. You know, he said, "We have a responsibility to our fellow citizens." And this is what I hope the people will take from the film. All of us have a responsibility that we’ve got to engage. And we’ve got to make sacrifices to make sure that we have progressive people that are elected to office.

AMY GOODMAN: You were at the Ambassador Hotel—

DOLORES HUERTA: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: —when Robert Kennedy was assassinated in June of 1968?

DOLORES HUERTA: Mm-hmm, yes. Yes, I was there with him.

AMY GOODMAN: Where were you at the time he was gunned down?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, just before he was assassinated, I had been next to Robert Kennedy at the podium. And we had done—been out there doing the work, you know, for his primary election, to make sure that he won. And then, as we were stepping down from the podium, then they took him back to the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, where he was assassinated.

AMY GOODMAN: So you were still in the big room.

DOLORES HUERTA: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: The ballroom.

DOLORES HUERTA: Yes. Well, I was right behind him, actually, and, you know, just as we got to the doorway, somebody pulled me aside, and so I wasn’t able to go with him through the doorway.

AMY GOODMAN: Did you hear the bullet?

DOLORES HUERTA: Oh, yes. I was just right behind him. And we heard—I thought they were firecrackers. I thought there was a celebration, because you heard all of these—I think about eight shots, which I thought were firecrackers.

AMY GOODMAN: Because he had won the California primary.

DOLORES HUERTA: He had got—he won the California primary. But then people started screaming, and we realized that they were bullets.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, what happened then? What was your response? Where did you go? What was the scene in the ballroom?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, of course, there was chaos in the ballroom. There was chaos. And we did a vigil when he was in the hospital, and then, of course, he passed away, you know, during that vigil.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I guess, if someone asked you then, what gave you hope, after the man you had championed had been assassinated right before you?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, we know that when you’re working for the poorest people of all, and the work that we have to do, there’s only one way to go. You can’t go down. You’ve got to keep going up, and you’ve got to keep working. And when we think of all of our martyrs, you know, when we think of Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X—

AMY GOODMAN: Did you spend any time with Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X?

DOLORES HUERTA: Actually, I didn’t. I didn’t. I was supposed to be with Martin Luther King in—here in New York City, but somehow the flight got canceled. I wasn’t able to make it. But I did spend a lot of time with Coretta when she was campaigning for the holiday. But I think, with all of these martyrs, the way that we honor them—

AMY GOODMAN: For the Martin Luther King holiday?

DOLORES HUERTA: Yeah. But the way that we honor our martyrs is that we have to continue doing the work. You know, we have to continue doing the organizing work and social justice work. And, you know, I’ve been quoting Pablo Neruda, the poet. I’ve been quoting. He says, "They can cut all the flowers, but you can’t hold back the spring." And I think, like back in the '60s, you know, when we were fighting Nixon and we had the Vietnam War, and all of these organizations were just being formed in—the green movement, the LGBT movement, the second wave of the women's movement, the civil rights movement—and we came out stronger. We came out stronger, and we changed policies. And I think that will happen again.

AMY GOODMAN: Dolores, you were deeply involved with the campaign supporting Hillary Clinton. Upon reflection, do you see mistakes that were made? What do you learn, as you learn from every campaign you’re involved with? And what do you think of how Bernie Sanders conducted his campaign? And do you think if he had been—he wasn’t your choice of candidate, but if he had been the candidate, he could have beaten Donald Trump?

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, I think we won’t know that, right? I mean, everybody thought that Hillary was going to win. I don’t think that the media was fair to Hillary. I think Bernie could have been more supportive of Hillary, you know, just before the general election, after she won the primary. So, you know—

AMY GOODMAN: He might have said the same in the lead-up to the convention, that he wished that her—that the Democratic National Committee was more supportive of him as an equal candidate.

DOLORES HUERTA: Yeah, and we can kind of look backward. But I think at this point that we just have to look forward. But I think one of the issues that we do have, I think, with the Democratic Party is that we’ve got to make sure that—and I know that there’s some kind of issues right now between whether they’re going to support conservative candidates or progressive candidates, and I think all of us have to push the Democratic Party to say we’ve got to have progressive candidates. We don’t need Republican-lite. We don’t need to elect people to the Congress or to the Senate that are going to vote with the Republicans. We’re at a critical point in our country right now, and we’ve got to get the strongest, the most progressive candidates elected. So I’m also encouraging people, get involved in your local Democratic Party. You know, these are democratic organizations. You’ve got to get in there and make sure that we get Democratic good progressive candidates in our party or in the Green Party or even in the Republican Party.

AMY GOODMAN: You mentioned that your son is running for Congress. Did you ever think of running for elected office?

DOLORES HUERTA: No, I consider myself an organizer. And I—you know, I like to be able to work for progressive candidates and also to take the other ones out, if they’re not doing the job.

AMY GOODMAN: Final thoughts, as you reflect on your life? Certainly, as you travel the country with the film Dolores being released, people are talking to you about your legacy, though you are still extremely active and moving forward, as you reflect on your life.

DOLORES HUERTA: Well, I think I have a few years left, and hopefully that I can continue doing that grassroots organizing, which I believe is really vital, the way that we organized the farmworkers’ union, the way that we’re organizing today, to get people involved and to really make people understand that they’ve got the power, but that they’ve got to use that power, they’ve got to get engaged. None of us can afford to take any time out right now. We are in a crisis. And this is—and I hope that all organizations get the kind of support that they need, not only in terms of resources, but also in terms of volunteers, that can help us go forward.

AMY GOODMAN: Dolores Huerta, thanks so much for being with us. Dolores Huerta, the civil rights icon, the co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez, president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation for community organizing. Her remarkable life is the subject of a new documentary. It’s called Dolores. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year and is opening in theaters all over the country today, on September 1st, from PBS Distribution. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks so much for joining us.

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