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Civil rights activist Dolores Huerta in Michiana

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 11:24 PM EDT
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - On Thursday, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta spoke at The Lerner Theatre in Elkhart.

Her keynote was part of the Thought Leadership Conference, which is a collaboration between Elkhart Community Schools and the South Bend Community School Corporation.

Huerta has been a labor rights and social justice activist for more than 50 years.

She is the founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founded the United Farms Workers Union in 1962 with Cesar Chavez.

Huerta is also the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Honor under the Obama Administration, the highest civilian honor in the U.S.

She said her mission is to empower others.

“That they have power. That they can make the changes. There needs to be change in the community. And they have to understand that they are the only ones that can make the changes. They cannot just sit around and wait for somebody to come around and do it for them,” said Huerta.

She talked about her formative years, and what it was like growing up with two brothers, and with friends who helped her gain intercultural awareness.

During her talk, Huerta also talked about the importance of civic engagement.

“Knowing what’s going in the political world and how we can contribute and participate in that political world. Otherwise, we can’t have a Democracy if people do not participate. People have to vote,” said Huerta.

She also commented on all the violence happening across our country.

“The only way we can erase the hatred and the tensions and the stress that drive people to commit homicides in the first place is to start with our educational system,” she said.

Huerta will also be touring and speaking at La Casa de Amistad Friday morning at 10.

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