Social activist Dolores Huerta speaks on the power of having a voice

Author: Diana Gutierrez

To view the live interview, visit ABC 57 News' website

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.- On Tuesday, a champion of workers' rights, whose words have motivated many, visited the University of Notre Dame to inspire and make sure this generation of students know they are the difference. 

Out of many accomplishments, three main things come to mind when thinking about Dolores Huerta. 

The 1960’s marches around the Vietnam War where half a million people showed, Civil Rights and Chicano Movement fighting against discrimination and Huerta being the co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association.

With a smile full of excitement Dolores Huerta tells ABC57 one of the main issues this nation is dealing with is not learning the country’s proper history.   

“Native Americans were the first slaves,” she says. “African slaves built the White House, it was the people from Mexico and Asia that came and built the infrastructure of this country.”

Huerta says without knowing the contribution of people of color, there’s resentment. “If we don’t erase the ignorance it’s devastation for the country and the world.”

Huerta, born in New Mexico, traveled to Mexico when she was 17 and is now recognized for bringing equality to the oppressed.

“There’s a lot of joy, absolutely, I call it exhilarating,” she says. “It’s a great sense of power, a power for good.”

Huerta says the Latino community seems to be the topic of conversation nowadays, but change has to start somewhere. 

“You have to overcome one thing, fear…the fear that you might be ridiculed.”

Notre Dame students are ready to be part of what Huerta calls much needed change.

“Her presence and energy is needed for institutions like Notre Dame to inspire future progression,” says Iesha Magallanes, a Notre Dame undergrad. 

“She was able to set the stage for Latinos, and put us at the national stage,” says Juan Valdez, another Notre Dame student. 

“Si Se Puede!” adds Huerta. 

Huerta is the founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, creating a platform for equality.  She has fought for the rights of farm workers, women’s rights and the working poor since the 1950s.

The Institute for Latino Studies brought Huerta to Notre Dame.