National Women’s History Month is an annual designation observed in March. During this month, we are all encouraged to honor the women who came before us and fought for equality among all races and genders. We asked our employees to share with us the women, past/present and famous/not famous, who inspire them. Lizeth Elizondo, our Insurance Account Manager, chose Dolores Huerta – Co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union.
“Huerta is perhaps best known and considered one of the of most important labor activists in US History. In 1960, Huerta founded the Agricultural Workers Association (AWA), where she set up voter drives and lobbied politicians to provide pensions and public assistance for non-citizen migrant workers. Alongside Cesar Chavez and Gilberto Padilla, Huerta co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA). While Chavez served as the charismatic leader, Huerta played an equally valuable role organizing and negotiating with businesses to provide fair treatment for workers. In 1965, Huerta oversaw the merging of the AWA and NFWA to create the United Farm Workers. This group went on to organize the famous strike by California grape pickers that led to 26 companies agreeing to improve the often-overlooked plight of migrant farm workers.
Elizondo says, “She is living proof of the saying ‘Behind every great man there is a Badass Woman!’ I mean I’m sure the saying is something close to that. Cesar Chavez was the face of the movement, but she made almost all the decisions for him and she was the one who handled company executives upfront. She was arrested 22 times for participating in non-violent civil disobedience activities and strikes. BUT what really got me to investigate her legacy more was an incident that took place in 1988, where she was severely beaten by a San Francisco police officer during a peaceful protest that was caught on tape and broadcast on local television. She won a judgement against SFPD for the attack and used the proceeds from that law suit to benefit farm workers! Who does that?! She does!! Oh, and because of the incident SFPD was pressured to change its crowd control policies and how officers are to discipline civilians, but I mean they still have more to learn.” Elizondo finished by saying, “All of my Tias were activists with Dolores and Cesar for the NFWA which allowed me to grow up using my voice and not letting anybody silence me. I’m loud on purpose.”
National Women’s History Month was established in 1987 as a way to celebrate women across the nation and their efforts to make the country, and world, a better place for women of all ages and races. “We as women have to put big lights around our accomplishments and around our ideas and not feel egotistical when we do that because it’s a way of letting the world know that, yes, we as women can accomplish great things.” -Dolores Huerta. What women inspire you?