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Civil rights activist Dolores Huerta speaks with The Collegian after the viewing of the documentary film “Dolores” at Maya Cinemas on Sept. 25, 2017. (Alejandro Soto/The Collegian)

‘Dolores’ teaches the fight of the farmworkers hero

Rebel, activist, feminist and mother are some of the characteristics that describe Dolores Huerta.

On Sept. 25, the city of Fresno opened the doors to the premiere of a documentary that tells the story of the farmworkers’ heroes. The movie was shown at Maya Cinemas at Campus Pointe.

Even though the documentary shows the story of Huerta, she said she had no influence on it, and that she just went to the premiere as an audience member.

Elizabeth Laval, vice president of content and development for Valley PBS, said it was exciting to partner with the Dolores Huerta Foundation for not only the showing in Fresno, but for two screenings in Bakersfield as well. They will also air the documentary on PBS stations across the country in 2018.

The documentary director, Peter Bratt, and the executive producer, Carlos Santana, reveal the personal sacrifices, dedication and the perseverance that Huerta had to face to achieve the change in the labor fields.

The documentary shows the process of forming the United Farmworkers Union (UFW) was not easy for the farm workers, Cesar Chavez, nor for Huerta and her family.

Huerta had to sacrifice the time she spent with her 11 children to strengthen the UFW in the ‘60s. According to the documentary, the farm workers faced brutality and abuse from authorities.

During the presentation of the documentary, there were a series of questions from audience members for Huerta.

One person asked: What have been some of your achievements?

“Well if we measure accomplishments by the number of people that benefited from it, there is a couple of things – actually two or three,” Huerta responded. “One of them is farmworkers getting the right to organize the Agricultural Labor relations Board (ALRB), unemployment insurance and getting toilets on the fields.”

For Huerta, the documentary is an opportunity for people, especially farm workers, to continue fighting for rights and justice.

“For me, the meaning of the film is that people get inspired to get involved and to make campaigns, to vote and become citizens to have the strength,” Huerta said.

According to Huerta, “common people have strength and power but they have to get together with other people and take direct actions.”

Referring to Fresno State students, Huerta said, “I want to say that you are the future but are very present at the moment. Do not be sad because like Pablo Neruda, the poet, said, you can cut the flowers but you cannot keep the spring from coming. And you guys are the spring – those who sow the seeds of justice. I know that they are difficult times, we will survive, and we will come out stronger as back in the ‘60s.”

At age 87, Huerta continues her activism. She added, “I ask you to please get involved, to volunteer for campaigns, to knock on doors, to make phone calls because we need your strength and energy.”

Huerta said, there are many political and justice movements that need community support.