Saturday, May 5, 2012
"I couldn't stand seeing kids come to class hungry and needing shoes," she said. "I thought I could do more by organizing farm workers than by trying to teach their hungry children."
So she helped to establish one community service organization after another until finally, in 1962, she co-founded (with labor leader Cesar Chavez) the United Farm Workers, for whom she directed the historic boycott against the table grape growers of California, resulting in a three-year contract with the Latino pickers who were members of the UFW.
Her subsequent activism on behalf of poor and Latino communities in California has marked her so emphatically that she has been arrested twenty-two times for participating in non-violence demonstrations and strikes. In 1988, at fifty-eight years of age, she was beaten so severely by San Francisco police officers at a peaceful protest against the political policies of George H.W. Bush that she had to have her spleen removed, resulting in a large settlement which she then, of course, used to further benefit farm workers.
More than eighty years old now, Huerta continues to rabble rouse, working to increase the involvement of women -- and most particularly Latinas -- in the decision-making processes of this country. In-your-face women are not afraid to face the seats of power or sit in them.