‘Dolores’ film celebrates former student

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Delta College is working to bring the documentary film ‘Dolores’ to campus said Ed Aguilar, manager, Office of Student Equity and Diversity.

‘Dolores’ chronicles the life of labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta.

Huerta was born in New Mexico but moved to Stockton as a child.

She attended Stockton College which later became Delta College.

In the 1950s, Huerta began her activist career with the Stockton chapter of the Community Service Organization.

She worked to improve economic conditions for Mexican-Americans in the community.

In 1962, Huerta co-founded the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) labor union with César Chávez.

She directed the UFW’s national consumer boycott of grapes during the Delano grape strike of 1965-1970.

Huerta’s efforts helped produce legislation that led to better wages and working conditions for California farm workers.

The film ‘Dolores’ asks why Huerta’s contributions to the UFW “have gone largely unrecognized” while “history tells us César Chávez transformed the U.S. labor movement.”

It concludes that like many “powerful female advocates,” Huerta’s “erasure… was deliberate.”

Huerta supports the effort to bring ‘Dolores’ to Stockton and hopes to be available to attend the film’s screening.

“For her, this is really where it started,” said Alicia Arong, Huerta’s sister and executive board member of The Dolores Huerta Foundation.

“She believes it’s really important that the people of our community see and understand the challenges and the sacrifices that were made so that our agricultural workers could have the basic dignity we all deserve.”

‘Dolores’ was produced by musician Carlos Santana and directed by Peter Bratt, brother of actor Benjamin Bratt.

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

The entertainment trade magazine ‘Variety’ described the film as “energetic” and “engaging.”

PBS acquired the North American distribution rights to ‘Dolores’ in April.

A TV broadcast premiere is planned for 2018.

The film opened in limited theatrical release on Sept. 1.

In September, the film played at The State Theatre in Modesto and The Tower Theatre in Sacramento.

No screening of ‘Dolores’ has been scheduled in Stockton to date.

Delta’s Women’s History Month committee hopes to change that.

In addition to Aguilar, its members are: Chris Guptill, division dean, Arts & Communication, Dr. Sarah Seekatz, associate professor of history and Claudia Navarro, president, La Raza Employees Association.

On behalf of the committee, Aguilar has contacted PBS about Delta hosting a public screening of ‘Dolores’ in March 2018.

It’s envisioned that ‘Dolores’ would be “the marquee event” in a month-long series of events related to women’s history.

These could include guest speakers, panel discussions and talks by faculty experts.

In addition to Delta resources, other “partners” within Stockton would be sought to contribute to the month’s activities.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Delta, to showcase Stockton,” said Aguilar.

As to Huerta, he said, “She has written history. She has written history itself.”

In 2012, Huerta was recipient of The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States highest civilian award.

When presenting the award, President Barack Obama acknowledged he had “stolen” the slogan ‘Yes, we can’ from Huerta for his 2008 presidential campaign.

‘Yes, we can’ is the translation of ‘Sí, se puede,’ the Spanish-language rallying cry Huerta created for the UFW in 1972.