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BernCo Park Renamed for Renowned Activist and Labor Leader Dolores Huerta

03/30/2017

The South Valley Gateway Park was renamed the Dolores Huerta Gateway Park during a dedication ceremony Saturday, April 1.

The park was renamed to honor Dolores Huerta’s lifelong activism for dignity and equality to laborers, immigrants, women and all others whose voices are silenced by injustice. 

Bernalillo County Commissioners Steven Michael Quezada was joined by Dolores Huerta, Senator Tom Udall, former County Commissioner Art De La Cruz, who was instrumental in the renaming efforts, and members of the Recuerda a Cesar Chavez Committee.


“I am extremely honored to welcome Dolores Huerta as we dedicate Gateway Park in her name’’ says Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada. “She has spent her lifetime working for the rights of others, all the while creating a legacy for all of us to follow…and she’s not done yet.”

After the event, the public was  invited to be a part of the annual Cesar Chavez March and Festival. The march began at the Dolores Huerta Gateway Park and continued across the river bridge to the National Hispanic Cultural Center and through the Barelas neighborhood.

Activist and labor leader Dolores Huerta was born April 10, 1930 in Dawson, New Mexico, as the second child of Juan and Alicia Fernandez, and moved after the separation of her parents to Stockton, California. There she excelled academically and graduated from Stockton High School in 1947, and would later earn a teaching degree from Stockton College.

After experiencing the ill-effects of racism, poverty and brutality as a student, and as a teacher, on her community, Ms. Huerta became determined to improve the social and economic conditions amongst the local families of farmworkers, and started, with Fred Ross, the Stockton chapter of the Community Services Organization, a nonprofit supporting similar purposes.

Ms. Huerta continued to advance the cause of farmworkers through grassroots organization, starting the Agricultural Workers Association in 1960, and, with Cesar Chavez and Gilbert Padilla, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association in 1962, later becoming the United Farm Workers, which fought for five years to create a successful and historic agreement with 26 grape growers to revolutionize farmworkers’ rights and benefits.

Ms. Huerta continued her activism for the next decades, building a political climate in the 1970s for the passage of the landmark 1975 Agricultural Labor Relations Act, facing life-threatening injuries in 1988 while advocating for comprehensive immigration policy in San Francisco, and receiving the Puffin/National Prize for Creative Leadership in 2002, the Eleanor Roosevelt Award in 1998 and induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

 

To view a slideshow of the event on Flickr, click the photo below. 

Dolores Huerta Gateway Park Dedication

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