She’s a trailblazing labor leader and civil rights activist. Dolores Huerta is also the first woman to have a school named after her in Burbank.
Kim Baldonado shows us why the 91-year-old was chosen for the honor and her message to the students.
The students cheered, and the band played as Dolores Huerta arrived at the middle school in Burbank which now bears her name.
“I am very honored and thrilled to have the school named after me,” Huerta said.
The former teacher began a life of activism by registering voters in the 1950s. In 1962, she and Cesar Chavez formed the National Farmworkers Association.
“Today, farmworkers and day laborers all over this country are experiencing the results of Dolores Huerta’s hard work. They have better working conditions on and off the field, better pay for the difficult work they do, and representation that wasn’t around before,” a student, Morgan Wright, said.
This school was originally named after David Starr Jordan, a scientist in the early 1900s who believed in eugenics, the racist theory that the human race could be improved by only allowing Caucasians to reproduce.
A research paper by a student 4 years ago got the ball rolling for the school’s name change.
“Our students are very passionate about justice, equality, and giving voice to underrepresented people. They really feel strongly about that as a group,” Principal Jennifer Meglemre said.
“I know it’s not easy what they did, but I think it sends a very strong message that we are no longer going to be stuck with a racist history in the past,” Huerta added.
Huerta encouraged the students to follow in her footsteps and emphasized it all begins with a good education.
“Study as hard as you can because of all the knowledge that you learn, nobody can ever take it away from you,” Huerta said.
The students were inspired by the 91-year-old, who is still going strong and grateful for all she’s accomplished.
“I am Joseph Hunsaker, the proud grandson of a former Salinas Valley farmworker, gracias por todo, thank you,” another student said.
The event ended with Huerta’s signature chant, “sí se puede,” which means “yes, we can!”
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