By: Elisabet Medina
Dolores Huerta, if you don’t know this name keep reading. She is the mother of farm worker rights, fought side by side with Cesar Chavez as co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America and came up with “Si Se Puede” which inspired Obama’s campaign slogan Yes We Can. “Huerta has served as a community activist and a political organizer, and was influential in securing the passage of California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, and disability insurance for farmworkers in California”1. Huerta was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. Overall, she is a Latina icon, personal hero and badass. Well into her 80s, she continues the good fight via the Dolores Huerta Foundation and encourages women to take credit for what they do.
Watching the documentary, Dolores which follows Huerta’s life’s story as a mother, activist and leader I wondered how it was possible that so few people know of this social justice warrior and her profound effect on American life. Huerta’s lack of mainstream recognition got me thinking about how invisible women’s labor can be- paid, unpaid, emotional, mental, physical; this work often goes unnoticed or uncredited. Recently, I have heard Chef Dominica, owner of the Oakland restaurant Cosecha say; “women should give themselves executive titles”.
If you are a volunteer that works with youth; call yourself a youth leader or mentor.
If you are a leader at your work, advocate that your title reflect your responsibilities.
If you play the guitar, call yourself a musician.
We don’t have to wait for another to legitimize or validate our contributions.
It is ok to embrace all the facets of who we are and to give ourselves credit for the work we do, this might seem foreign at first or feel out of the ordinary but the truth is that often men have been socialized towards self-promotion and to respond to titles. Whereas as women, are often socialized to take supporting roles and our behind the scenes work never quite gets the same amount of limelight.
As a leader, daughter, sister, volunteer, I want to honor the people around me and give recognition where it is merited. I hope that each of us takes the time to celebrate the women who have made heroic differences on a national scale like Dolores Huerta. And those who impact us on a deeply personal level like our mothers and grandmothers; whom without their everyday sacrifices our lives would be radically different. Let us honor ourselves and each other, in words and actions, bringing to light the amazing heroes that are making a difference in our community and our lives.