Dolores Huerta. Voice for the Working Poor by Alex Van Tol
By Alex Van Tol
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Extra info for Dolores Huerta. Voice for the Working Poor
They had a lot to lose, too. They feared their employers might find out. They worried about paying money to the union, because what if they needed that money for when their families fell ill? There were also other union groups that were trying to organize them—and those groups were asking for money. Many of the farm workers, however, believed strongly in lacausa, or “the cause,” as Dolores called it. They wanted to do what they could to make change happen, so they willingly handed over their fees.
In 1968, César began a fast, going without food and drinking only water for 25 days, in order to raise public awareness of the struggles of the workers. In 1972, he fasted for 24 days. In 1988, he fasted for 36 days. When he finished this final fast, the Reverend Jesse Jackson took it up for three days. Then he passed it along to celebrities and political leaders. Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Danny Glover, and Whoopi Goldberg were among the actors who fasted in support of farm workers, as was Kerry Kennedy, Robert F.
Victories at the CSO In 1958, Dolores and several other CSO supporters set up the Agricultural Workers Association (AWA). The AWA still operated within the CSO. While the CSO mostly helped Mexican-Americans living in the cities, the AWA dealt with the specific concerns facing farm workers. Poverty and exploitation by their employers were big problems for farm laborers. It was important to Dolores that there was an arm of the CSO that looked out for the farm workers and their families. During her time at the CSO, Dolores pushed for changes to legislation.