Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

At 87, Dolores Huerta Has No Plans To Stop Organizing

Damien Dovarganes
AP Photo
In this April 10, 2014, file photo, Dolores Huerta stands by a portrait of herself taken in 1998 by photographer Angela Torres, as she tours her exhibition, "Viva la Causa! Dolores Huerta and the Struggle for Justice," in Los Angeles.

"The most vocal activist you've never heard of." That's how one news report describes Dolores Huerta in a new documentary about her life.

Huerta founded the United Farm Workers of America along with Cesar Chavez. Together, they were the first to successfully organize farm workers in the United States.

The film "Dolores" aims to highlight Huerta's contributions to the labor and civil rights movements. It airs Tuesday night on PBS.

At 87, Huerta is still organizing in California. She spoke with KNKX. Here are some highlights from the conversation.

On staving off burnout: "Well, you don't get burnout when you are able to see the victories like in the work we're doing right now with the Dolores Huerta Foundation. We have just won some major victories here in Bakersfield, California. And this has all been done just by organizing people in the community to make these changes. And so when you see those kinds of victories, then you don't get burned out."

On what people can take from the film: "The main thing we want people to take from the movie [is] when they see that the farm workers, who were the most discriminated group of people, were able to come together and improve their conditions by doing the marches and the strikes and all of that. But it came out of the fact that they were organized. And then they took direct action, nonviolent action, even when people were killed."

On her love of jazz: "When I heard jazz, I completely loved it. And I always say my claim to fame is that I met [saxophonist and composer] Charlie Parker. How many people can say that in today's world? When ['Dolores' producer] Carlos Santana and I had that conversation, I think this is what really clicked with Carlos. And I think that's why he decided to make the movie because he was so impressed that I was into jazz."  

A Seattle native and former KNKX intern, Simone Alicea spent four years as a producer and reporter at KNKX. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University and covered breaking news for the Chicago Sun-Times. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times.