Dolores Huerta, second from left, poses beside a painting of Cesar Chavez at the Los Padres Center. With her are CCC Crew Supervisor Victor Rocha, left; her husband, Richard Chavez; and crewleaders Jolina Elliott and Rebecca Lipthay.
As part of the Los Padres Cesar Chavez Day celebration for corpsmembers, Dolores Huerta visited the center one evening in March. Her grandson, David Ybarra, is a current corpsmember at the center and asked her to talk with corpsmembers and staff regarding her life's work, nonviolent community activism and the importance of service to others.
Huerta co-founded the United Farmworkers of America with Cesar Chavez. She organized the 1965 national grape boycott and has been an advocate for farmworkers' rights and other causes since that time. In 1968, Huerta was standing on the speaker's platform near Senator Robert F. Kennedy the night he was shot.
Los Padres Center Director Domenic Santangelo said Huerta's appearance at the center was "a historic moment" as she spoke to 60 corpsmembers. "They asked her about her fears, her biggest challenges, her best moments in her life and her worst moments (losing Bobby Kennedy), never giving up and why, what makes her continue her work and many more questions -- she answered them all."
Domenic said Huerta told corpsmembers Cesar Chavez told her "you only lose when you give up" and she related that advice to corpsmembers about everyday life.
Huerta told Domenic later how she and others in the UFW were mad at Governor Jerry Brown (but only for a short while) when he took the best organizers to start the CCC -- then she said "I'm happy he did."
Dolores Huerta signs an autograph for corpsmember Araceli Loayza.
Huerta is the mother of 11 children; her husband is Richard Chavez, the brother of Cesar. One of Cesar Chavez' grandsons was also a corpsmember at the Los Padres Center a few years back.