At the heart of community and social justice, the Dolores Huerta Foundation serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration. Established by the labor leader and activist Dolores Huerta, the organization embodies a commitment to equality and the pursuit of a better future for all.
Dolores Huerta has worked for civil rights for over 50 years. In 1962, Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers union. She served as vice president and was critical in many of the union's accomplishments for four decades.
In 1993, Huerta was the first Latina inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. In 2002, she received the Puffin/Nation $100,000 prize for Creative Citizenship, which she used to establish the DHF.
Her legacy continues through her foundation as she advocates for marginalized and underserved communities.
Community organizing is at the center of the DHF, and it believes that those most directly impacted by inequity have the knowledge to implement solutions when enabled with the right tools, training and resources.
The Dolores Foundation focuses on grassroots organizing and leadership development. Founded in 2003, it strives to inspire and organize communities to establish volunteer organizations empowered to pursue social justice.
It does so through various innovative programs. One is Vecinos Unidos (Neighbors United), with 12 chapters in Kern, Tulare, Fresno and Antelope Valley counties.
DHF organizers use a grassroots house meetings model to form neighborhood organizations to equip members through hands-on leadership training to lead civic engagement and collective action efforts to hold elected officials accountable and secure positive outcomes to communicate the needs of their community.
There are 450 Vecinos Unidos members who have been successful in advocating for more parks, paved roads, pools, sewer connections and much more.
For the first time, a Vecinos Unidos representative, Veronica Perez, established a chapter in Wasco. The goal is to have a place where the community can have their needs and concerns addressed.
"We invite the community of Wasco to contact me, DHF Wasco community organizer, at 661- 426-5439 to join our efforts," Perez said.
Yesenia Ocampo, health program director, spearheads another local effort.
She oversees a project launched in partnership with UC Merced Community and Labor Center to implement a community needs assessment to collect over 4,000 surveys in 16 targeted underrepresented communities, including Wasco.
"The objective is to release the findings to the community of Wasco to ensure they inform investments and policy improvements in the areas of education, employment, health and the environment," Ocampo said.
"The team of canvasser surveyors may come knocking on your door in the next few weeks. Please help impact your community by taking a few minutes and making your voice heard by participating in this academic and community-driven project."