American labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta turned 92 years old on Sunday (April 10). In honor of her birthday, acting California Governor Eleni Kounalakis continued the state’s tradition of proclaiming the day Dolores Huerta Day.
Dolores Huerta Day was first celebrated in 2019 after then-California governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2644 the summer prior. The bill designated April 10 as Dolores Huerta Day. Although the day is not an official state holiday, schools are encouraged to teach their students about Huerta and her accomplishments.
“I’m happy to hear that our young learners will have the opportunity to learn more about social justice and civil rights because there is still a lot of work to do,” Huerta said at the time. “We need to continue organizing to empower communities so that they can fight for fair representation, voting rights, and an equitable education.”
The proclamation signed by Kounalakis on Sunday called Huerta “a powerhouse for social justice” and said that her passion was “fighting for the rights of workers and their families, and help[ing] pioneer a transformative farm labor movement that carries on to this day.”
In 1962, Huerta and fellow labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez co-founded the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers. Among her numerous awards include the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Huerta became the first Latina inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993. She was also inducted into the California Hall of Fame a decade later.
Kounalakis is currently serving as acting California Governor while Governor Gavin Newsom and his family are vacationing in Central and South America for spring break. Before departing the office on March 31, Newsom’s last order of business, ironically, was signing a proclamation declaring the day Cesar Chavez Day.