United Farm Workers founder to visit Kings Beach | SierraSun.com

United Farm Workers founder to visit Kings Beach

The woman who co-founded the United Farm Workers with the late Cesar Chavez is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at a spring conference in Kings Beach.

Dolores Huerta’s appearance is part of a local movement to empower Tahoe-area Latinos and give them tools to become effective community leaders.

Creciendo Unidos, a Kings Beach group that promotes a safe and healthy environment in the Latino community, invited Huerta to plant a seed for leadership growth in North Tahoe communities.

“With the bigger picture, we want to create a regional [Latino] voice,” said Emilio Vaca, a Creciendo Unidos facilitator. “We want this to be a stepping stone to what can be done for our communities, and have [individuals] be representatives of their own rights.”

The co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union, Huerta is slated to be the keynote speaker at the Community Empowerment conference, tentatively scheduled for late May.

Huerta worked with Cesar Chavez to secure labor rights for farmworkers in the ’60s. The Latina feminist followed the nonviolent principles advocated by Ghandi to fight for civil rights. Chavez died in 1993.

Today, Huerta continues to lobby on behalf of her people through the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Vaca said Heurta changes communities by giving them the ability to organize themselves.

“She’s real,” Vaca said. “She doesn’t tell you what you [may] want to hear, which [has], I think, a lot of integrity.”

Vaca is currently discussing the goals of the grant-funded conference, which is sponsored by the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation, with such organizations as the Truckee Family Resource Center and the North Tahoe Business Association.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to bring the Latino community together and hopefully get them involved,” said Executive Director Adela Gonzalez del Valle of the Truckee Family Resource Center.

Vaca said he wants to bring such issues as drug abuse, gangs, education and regional politics to the forefront of public conversation so the community can discuss solutions.

The event will be open to anyone willing to participate, Vaca said. But in the end, Vaca said he hopes the conference will provide an avenue for Latino individuals to step into a leadership role.

“In our current situation, there hasn’t been a push to actually take the average person who has three kids, who doesn’t own a business and works three jobs, [and sit them] at the table,” he said.

Gonzalez del Valle said a regional group representing the Latino population is needed to directly represent their needs and desires.

“A lot of folks come to the Family Resource Center all the time looking for input from the Latino community,” she said. “It just makes more sense to create a Latino advisory board … that agencies could tap into.”

Vaca said he would like to create teen and adult action teams that would go through leadership training after the conference, training that would equip team members with knowledge about issues important to the Latino community.

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