Civil rights leader and icon Dolores Huerta received a heartwarming welcome from hundreds of supporters when she visited the Dolores Huerta International Academy (DHIA) in Fontana on Monday, Apr. 15 to celebrate the inaugural “Dolores Huerta Day.”
“Dolores Huerta has worked her entire life in service to others and to improve social and economic conditions for farmworkers and her efforts helped carve the path for the labor movement in the state,” said Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes, who authored AB 2644 that became law in January and will recognize April 10 as Dolores Huerta Day each year in California in recognition of her decades of social, labor and civil rights activism.
“This school, to be international and bilingual is a giant step to get rid of racism,” Huerta, who recently returned from a conference in Texas on the topic, remarked to the crowd. “We need to address and understand that we are one human race, and there’s no place in society for racism.”
Huerta asked the audience to hold the hand of the person beside them and say, “Hello, relative.”
Huerta commended students at the dual language school named in her honor for being exceptionally “articulate” in both English and Spanish, reminding the audience to work diligently to ensure the “best quality of education for our children.”
“We have to work hard to make sure these children will have a free college education,” Huerta continued. “We will not take ‘no’ for an answer, this is the richest country in the world, we will find the money!”
Students and adults cheered, “Sí se puede, sí se puede” in response.
Huerta also encouraged people to participate in Census 2020 to ensure adequate funding for communities, and to make a concerted effort to elect “good people.”
Following her speech Huerta, with Assemblymember Reyes by her side, greeted and chatted with students before taking photos with community members. An unveiling of a mural depicting the social rights activist in the academy concluded the program.
The celebration was hosted by Assemblymember Reyes, the Fontana Unified School District and DHIA. Since the passage of AB 2644 the states of Washington and New Mexico have passed similar bills to recognize Dolores Huerta.