An appearance by labor leader and civil rights activist Delores Huerta will kick off activities for Elgin Community College's celebration of Latino Heritage Month in September and October. The month recognizes the contributions made by Latinos while creating a respectful dialogue about important issues in the Latino community.
Huerta will be the keynote speaker during the 24th annual Latino Heritage Month Kickoff Breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, in the Building E University and Business Center Dining Room, located on the Spartan Drive Campus, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin. She also will participate in an open forum that day from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Building G Spartan Auditorium.
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Huerta's beginnings as an activist began when she saw the students she taught in the 1950s, many of them children of farm workers, living in poverty without enough food to eat or other basic necessities. She would then become one of the co-founders of the Stockton chapter of the Community Services Organization (CSO) to improve the social and economic conditions for farm workers and to fight discrimination.
Huerta would later create the Agricultural Workers Association (AWA) in 1960, to continue her advocacy of farm workers' rights. As part of that role, she would lobby politicians on many issues, including allowing migrant workers without U.S. citizenship to receive public assistance and pensions and creating Spanish-language voting ballots and driver's tests.
In 1962, she worked with César Chávez to co-found what would become the United Farm Workers (UFW). As a team, they combined their individual strengths in speaking, organizing, and negotiating to lead the union in a successful series of strikes against California grape growers in the 1960s and 1970s.
Although Huerta stepped down from the UFW in 1999, she continues to her work to improve the lives of workers, immigrants and women. She has received many honors for her work, including the Ellis Island Medal of Freedom Award, the Eleanor Roosevelt Award, and being inducted to the National Women's Hall of Fame.
Tickets to the breakfast are $15 for adults and $12 for students. Reservations are required and tickets can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.com/event/6194585171/eivtefrnd.
For additional information about Latino Heritage Month, contact the Student Life Office at (847) 214-7425.
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