Dolores Huerta

NFWA march and rally - April 10, 1966

Dolores Huerta
April 10, 1966— Sacramento, California
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Following is a partial transcript of a speech by Dolores Huerta from a KQED news report on the National Farm Workers Association march and rally in Sacramento on April 10, 1966.

...the organizing efforts of the National Farm Workers Association, and today our farm workers have come to Sacramento. To the governor and the legislature of California we say you cannot close your eyes and your ears to us any longer. You cannot pretend that we do not exist. You cannot plead ignorance to our problems because we are here and we embody our needs for you. And we are not alone. We are accompanied by many friends. The religious leaders of the state, spear-headed by the migrant ministry, the student groups, the civil rights groups that make up the movement that has been successful in securing civil rights for Negroes in this country, right-thinking citizens and our staunchest ally, organized labor, are all in the revolution of the farm worker.

...the day has ended when the farm worker will let himself be used as a pawn by employers, government, and others who would exploit them for their own ends. La huelga and la causa is our cry, and everyone must listen. Viva la huelga! Viva Cesar Chavez! them the confidence they needed through inspiration and hard work. Educating them for months to realize that no one was going to win their battle for them. That their conditions could be changed by only one group of people, themselves.

...and he did not solicit money from any area, this was prior to the strike of course. Cesar felt that outside money for organization of farm workers was no good and it would not do the trick. And that the workers had to pay for their own organization, and this was accomplished. Prior to the strike the National Farm Workers Association was supported entirely by its own membership through the dues that they paid. Furthermore... has been highlighted by people who have joined us here today. Furthermore, these groups are committing themselves to help us until total victory is achieved. The developments of the past seven months are only a slight indication of what is to come. The workers are on the rise. There will be strikes all over the state and throughout the country because Delano has shown what can be done and the workers know that they are no longer alone. [applause] The agricultural workers are not going to remain static. The towns that have been reached by the pilgrimage will never be the same. On behalf of the National Farm Workers Association, its officers, and its members, on behalf of all of the farm workers of this state, we unconditionally demand that the governor of this state, Edmund Brown, call a special session of the legislature to enact a collective bargaining law for the farmer workers of the state of California. [applause] We will be satisfied with nothing less. The governor cannot and the legislature cannot shrug off its responsibilities to the Congress of the United States. We are citizens and we are residents of the state of California, and we want the rules set up to protect us in this state, right here. If the rules to settle our economic problems are not forthcoming, we will call a general strike to paralyze the state’s agricultural economy. [applause] We will call a general strike to let the legislators and the employers know that we mean business. We will take economic pressure, strikes, boycotts, to force recognition and obtain collective bargaining rights. The social and economic revolution of the farm workers is well underway and it will not be stopped until we receive equality. The farm workers are moving. Nothing is going to stop them. The workers are crying for organization, and we are going to organize them. We may act in strange and unusual ways in our organizing, but we’re willing to try new and unused methods to achieve justice for the farm workers.

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