The next stop of our virtual tour on the Rad Women Walking Tour brings us to a painting of Dolores Huerta. It was painted by Anna VanderLoon and is located on the corner of Division Ave. and Lyon St.
Dolores Huerta is a leader in the American labor system. She was born on April 10, 1930 in Dawson, New Mexico. She has said that her mother was her inspiration for fighting for feminism and communities in general. Her mother ran a hotel and offered rooms at affordable rates, often giving low wage workers a room for free. She was also a member of many different civic organisations and their local church. She encouraged Dolores to help people in need and support people of many different backgrounds. Growing up she was part of many different school clubs, a member of the Girl Scouts, and a majorette (baton twirling and dancing) which inspired her activism interests.
As an adult she became a teacher at a small school in a farming town, teaching the children whose families owned and worked on farms nearby. While working as a teacher, Huerta was upset with watching her students come to class hungry and lacking basic supplies. This inequity started her journey to combat economic injustice. She soon joined the Stockton Community Service Organization (CSO) as an organiser and helped set up many different organizations meant to help people struggling with finances, including the National Farm Workers Association. With all the financial support she was trying to put in place for farmers, she started fighting for gender equality within their ranks. Her efforts to break down gender barriers not only affected women in the agricultural community but helped women in many other occupations. Huerta encouraged whole families to get involved with her protests for her causes and supported the idea of nonviolent protests. She also helped get many political figures into office, most notably Robert Kennedy and President Clinton, with her position as a principal legislative advocate.
At 90 years old, Huerta continues to fight for the poor, women, and children through the Dolores Huerta Foundation. In 2012 President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her activism work. All her important work earned Dolores Huerta a spot on the Grand Rapids Rad Women Walking Tour!