From the Daily Beast:
Grassroots organizer Dolores Huerta, 82, will be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. Huerta, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, grew up in northern California where she “learned early on the ugliness of discrimination.” She will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the United Farm Workers Union, which she helped co-found with César Chávez. Originally a school teacher, Huerta realized that “I could do more by organizing farm workers than teaching their hungry children.” Thus, Huerta and Chávez founded the National Farmworkers Association, which became the United Farmworkers Union, the first union for agricultural workers in the nation. Through her political advocacy for the group she was able to influence the passing of important legislation including:
“Spanish-language ballots for voters, public assistance for immigrants, toilets in the fields, drinking water protection from pesticides, and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which gave legal residency status to more than 1 million farm workers.”
In her time fighting for workers’ rights she has been arrested 22 times and severely beaten once by San Francisco police. In addition to farmworkers’ rights, she has also devoted much time to working for women’s rights and increasing their political participation and representation.
Regarding the 2012 election, Huerta says: “We have a mandate. If we want to keep our democracy alive, we must get people to participate and be active. That’s what my burning mission is.”
Read more at The Daily Beast: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/05/18/hero-grandmother-delores-huerta-honored-with-medal-of-freedom.html