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Dolores Huerta, Son Emilio Talk Civil Rights, Proud Chicano Heritage

Dolores Huerta talks to her son Emilio about what is was like to grow up amid her civil rights work and his journey as a young Chicano activist.

Dolores Huerta is part of our American civil rights history as the co-founder of the United Farm Workers. Along with Cesar Chávez, their work was crucial in improving the conditions of mainly Mexican farm workers in California and altering the labor landscape for thousands of families.

"I faced discrimination in my high school, the profiling," said Dolores, who remembers Latinos being encouraged to take "business classes" instead of the more rigorous college path. "Unfortunately we still see that same thing today."

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Her son Emilio Huerta grew up sharing in that activism from a young age.

"You've given us a very exciting life. You've allowed us to be exposed to different issues, different causes and to be able to discern between what is just and unjust."

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He choked up when he also said it had been hard, but he said she leaves "big shoes to fill."

But as a Latino of a different generation, he also spoke of his own journey.

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"We were a generation that was sort of carving out our place in society. You don’t hear the term Chicano anymore, but in my day as a teenager, as a young college student and as a young professional I was proud and still proud to call myself a Chicano," said Emilio, who after years as a lawyer and activist is now running for Congress. "It thought that meant I had earned the right to take a place at the board table."

As part of our Hispanic Heritage Month "One Heritage, Two Generations," Dolores and Emilio share stories of their collective and individual journeys.

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