SACRAMENTO (KRON) — Eleni Kounalakis proclaims Sunday as Dolores Huerta Day. She issued the document as the acting governor of the state, in place of Governor Gavin Newsom’s absence.
State officials issue proclamations to bring recognition to an issue, milestone or event. Kounalakis is California’s 50th Lieutenant Governor.
Kounalakis signed the proclamation in honor of the Mexican American labor activist. She was born on April 10, 1930 – the same date as today, which influenced Kounalakis’s decision. She turned 92 on this day.
“I urge all Californians to take inspiration from her example and work to change lives for the better in our communities,” Kounalakis stated in her proclamation.
Huerta spent most of her life in the Central Valley of California alongside her Mexican immigrant parents. Her father worked as a coal miner and later became involved in a labor group.
The activist started her career as a schoolteacher in a Stockton agricultural community. Her experiences with harsh labor treatments and seeing her students come to school hungry, pushed her to become a leader of the Community Service Organization – a Latino civil rights group that is still active.
Huerta would later form the Agricultural Workers Association to organize voter registration campaigns in her neighborhood.
Later on, Huerta and Mexican American civil rights activist Cesar Chavez established the National Farm Workers Association. This group would become a central role in labor movements during the 1970s.
Huerta continues her legacy through the Dolores Huerta Foundation that focuses on labor, civil rights, and women’s movements.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta celebrated the day by tweeting a picture of him and Huerta. He captioned the post, “Happy Birthday to the inimitable & timeless @DoloresHuerta whose relentless pursuit of justice marches on.”