About Dolores Huerta and 30th Anniversary

About the 30th Anniversary Celebration

In 2022, UC Santa Cruz named the Research Center for the Americas in honor of social justice icon Dolores Huerta for the center's 30th anniversary. Huerta's legacy has influenced the center's work and values for decades. We celebrated the occasion at an unforgettable event on October 20, 2022 at UC Santa Cruz. Check out the stories below for more information about the event.

The Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas has a long history of working to drive positive social change and will continue its innovative work for decades to come, now in the name of Dolores Huerta.

About Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta, a U.S. labor leader and civil rights activist, continues to work for social justice to this day, even in her 90s. Huerta was born in 1930 in Dawson, New Mexico to a union-organizer father, Juan Fernández, and an independent business woman mother, Alicia Chavez. Dolores Huerta grew up and went to school in Stockton, California where she experienced and witnessed injustices. This caused her to develop a passion for helping others as she knew to create change meant organizing and using her voice. 

She is well-known for co-founding the United Farm Workers Association (UFW), and working alongside Cesar Chavez. Huerta has been an activist for multiple marginalized communities and through her many years of organizing, she famously coined the term Sí, se puede. When she began to organize farmworkers, she also became passionate about women’s rights. Seeing women be harrassed and mistreated in the fields and other workplaces made her realize the important intersectional identities that can affect an individual. She also is a very outspoken supporter of women’s reproductive rights.

Before she was known as the only woman in the UFW board, she was a well-respected community organizer in Stockton, California. She registered many people to vote and stressed the importance of organizing as a community and making their voices heard no matter how great the challenge. Dolores Huerta has been arrested many times and sometimes her activism has put her in serious danger. In 1988, Dolores was at a San Francisco protest when she was attacked and beaten by police, which left her hospitalized. 

Through her lifetime, Dolores Huerta has been awarded many honorary doctorates, medals, and awards. She is a 2011 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, the highest civilian honor in the United States. In 2018, Governor Jerry Brown designated April 10th as Dolores Huerta Day in California. She received an appointment to join the UC Board of Regents in 2003 by Governor Gray Davis. And in 2022, UC Santa Cruz proudly renamed the Research Center for the Americas in her honor at the center’s 30th anniversary event.

Dolores Huerta Short Biography
January 2023
Written by Nancy Hernandez-Rocha, Program and Events Assistant of the Huerta Center (2024, Community Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies combined with Sociology)

 To learn more about Dolores Huerta, please read the following articles: 


From the UCSC Archives, Dolores Huerta at UC Santa Cruz


Oakes College Event flyer, 1992. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz


Workers Day Flyer, nd. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz


1988 Commencement: Oakes College ceremony speaker Dolores Huerta, with unidentified woman. UCSC Photography Services photographs. UA 50. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz


“Photo of Dolores Huerta, Gloria Steinem, and Ciel Benedetto at the UCSC Women's Center. Circa 1989.,” Digital Exhibits, https://exhibits.library.ucsc.edu/items/show/2095.


Dolores Huerta, center, with UC Santa Cruz students affiliated with the research center now known as the Dolores Huerta Research Center. Date unknown.