Today is Dolores Huerta Day in three states.
The Washington legislature last month unanimously passed HB 1906, designating April 10 as Dolores Huerta Day. In July 2018, a similar California law proclaimed April 10 Dolores Huerta Day in this state.
And Nevada Gov. Stephen F. Sisolak posted this Wednesday on Facebook: "Happy birthday to a woman who epitomizes strength and courage, labor leader and civil rights icon @DoloresHuerta! I was proud to recently proclaim Dolores Huerta Day in her honor."
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee called Huerta a woman of "tremendous accomplishment," saying that workers everywhere are indebted to her.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation Wednesday honoring Huerta. "Huerta continues to be a powerful force for social justice and empowerment for all," it said in part. "... Today, Huerta’s 89th birthday, we honor her lifelong commitment to justice for all and the many trails she paved for generations of activists."
Huerta, who lives in Bakersfield and has spent most of her life in Kern County, is celebrated elsewhere as well.
School districts in at least three Texas cities honor her: Fort Worth students now observe a César Chávez-Dolores Huerta Day of Service on March 25. Students in Austin celebrate César Chávez-Dolores Huerta Day that same week. And students in Houston, starting this year, will honor Huerta on May 31.
In 1965, Huerta and César Chávez led a historic boycott and strike against the grape industry demanding better wages and working conditions for farm workers. The strike lasted more than five years and in the end, grape growers signed union contracts and agreed to give workers better pay, benefits, and protections.
Huerta set up voter registration drives and lobbied U.S. politicians to allow non–citizen migrant workers to receive public assistance and pensions. She also lobbied for Spanish-language voting ballots and driver's tests.
Former President Barrack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
Obama acknowledged Huerta for her role in the creation of his "Yes, We Can" slogan during his first presidential campaign. Her "Si, Se Puede" rallying cry was part of the farmworkers' movement.
Last year Gov. Jerry Brown signed Section 37222.20 to the Education Code, and to add Section 6729 to the Government Code of Assembly Bill No. 2644 into law, making Dolores Huerta Day an official day of celebration in the state. The new bill requires all future California governors to annually proclaim April 10 as Dolores Huerta Day and encourage every public school educator in the state to observe the date by implementing a lesson on Huerta’s life, accomplishments, and contributions.
The activist founded the Dolores Huerta Foundation in 2002, with a focus on grassroots organizing in Central Valley. According to its website, the Dolores Huerta Foundation trains low-income Central Valley residents “to advocate for parks, adequate public transportation, infrastructure improvements, the reduction of pesticide use, increased recreational opportunities, and culturally relevant services.”