Activist Dolores Huerta to speak in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month at IU Bloomington

Dolores HuertaView print quality image
Dolores Huerta. Photo by Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will visit Indiana University Bloomington and give a keynote address.

Along with folk hero and labor leader Cesar Chavez, Huerta co-founded what is now the United Farm Workers and was the main negotiator in the employees' improved contract drafted after a strike in 1975. She is known for her famous saying, "Sí se puede," translated as "Yes we can!"

The Latino Studies Program and La Casa Latino Cultural Center, part of the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, invite the public to Huerta's free keynote address at 7 p.m. Sept. 19 in Presidents Hall at Franklin Hall.

The northern New Mexico native became a self-proclaimed feminist after she observed her mother's kindness and entrepreneurial mindset. Her mother used to welcome low-wage workers into their 70-room hotel and would sometimes waive guests' overnight fees altogether.

Huerta was one of the United Farm Workers' most influential spokespeople. She later worked on numerous campaigns, such as former California governor Jerry Brown and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

In the 1990s, she began advocating for women's rights and encouraging Latinas to run for office. The "Feminization of Power" campaign resulted in a large increase of female representatives at local, state and federal levels.

A woman of influential power and nonviolent approaches, Huerta was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 by President Barack Obama. This honor is the highest civilian award in the United States.

IU Bloomington will celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month , which recognizes the culture and heritage of Hispanic and Latino Americans and their contributions to the United States, through Oct. 15.

Other La Casa events include:

  • Sept. 16: Héctor Tobar, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, will read from his books at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Grand Hall at 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 22 and 29: El Centro Comunal Latino's COPA Bloomington soccer tournament will run from 6 to 9 p.m. each evening at Karst Farm Park. The tournament credits itself as being one of the most diverse and affordable tournaments in Bloomington.
  • Oct. 9: Learn to make five easy Latin American finger foods during an interactive cooking class at the IU Food Project House at 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 13: The Hispanic Heritage Celebration, with food, activities and live music, will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Monroe County Library.

A full calendar of events for National Hispanic Heritage Month is available on the La Casa website.