Adding to this dynamic discussion was our moderator, Jose Gonzalez, Founder of Latino Outdoors.
Part of what makes this pair so inspiring is their long history in the Santa Clara Valley. Both have contributed steady work in the struggles for social and environmental justice. Each has valuable insights into the relationship between history, land and people in California. If you’re interested in connected to the story of our region, this incredible talk is well worth revisiting.
Cover art produced by Stephany Sanchez
Dolores Clara Fernández Huerta is the legendary American civil rights activist who founded the United Farm Workers alongside Cesar Chavez in the 1960s. In subsequent decades, she became involved in many movements including various civil rights and environmental issues, labor movements, women’s causes and struggles for LGBTQ rights. An often forgotten piece of history is the pivotal role that the UFW played during the 1970s in early fights against environmental racism and pollution, namely the campaign to ban the use of the pesticide DDT.
Today, Dolores Huerta continues to work tirelessly developing leaders and advocating for the working poor, women, and children. As founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, she travels across the country engaging in campaigns and influencing legislation that supports equality and defends civil rights. She often speaks to students and organizations about issues of social justice and public policy.
Luis Valdez is regarded as one of the most important and influential American playwrights living today. His internationally renowned, and Obie award-winning theater company, El Teatro Campesino (The Farm Workers’ Theater) was founded by Luis in 1965 – in the heat of the United Farm Workers (UFW) struggle and the Great Delano Grape Strike in California’s Central Valley.
In 2014, Luis’ play Valley of the Heart had its world premiere on the stage of El Teatro Campesino in rural San Juan Bautista, California. Luis appeared in numerous feature film and television credits include, among others, the box office hit film La Bamba starring Lou Diamond Phillips. Luis has never strayed far from his own farm worker roots. His company, El Teatro Campesino is located 60 miles south of San Jose in the rural community of San Juan Bautista, CA. This theater, tucked away in San Benito County, is the most important and longest running Chicano Theater in the United States.
Our event will be moderated by José G. González, Founder and Director Emeritus of Latino Outdoors. He is an experienced educator as a K-12 public education teacher, environmental education advisor, outdoor education instructor, and university adjunct faculty. His commentary on diversity and environmental/outdoor equity has been featured by High Country News, Outside Magazine, Earth Island Journal, and Latino USA, among others. He engaged in collaborations with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, U.S. Department of Interior, and the National Park Service during the Obama Administration.
He serves as a Trustee for the National Outdoor Leadership School, a Trustee for the National Recreation Foundation, Resource Media Board Director, Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project Board Director, Councilor for Save the Redwoods League and as an advisor to Blue Sky Funders Forum, among other such leadership volunteer roles.
You can connect with him on social media @JoseBilingue
Latino Outdoors’ mission is to inspire, connect, and engage Latino communities in the outdoors and embrace cultura y familia as part of the outdoor narrative, ensuring their history, heritage, and leadership are valued and represented.
Dolores Huerta established the Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF) in 2003 with proceeds from the Puffin/Nation prize for Creative Citizenship that she received a year earlier. Dolores Huerta remains active with DHF as a full-time unpaid volunteer, and sees the work of the foundation as a continuation of the non-violent civil rights movement of the 1970’s.
As the region’s only Community Resource Center, Puente serves the San Mateo County South Coast communities of Pescadero, La Honda, Loma Mar, and San Gregorio. Puente both advocates for our communities and leverages resources that foster economic prosperity and security, and that promote individual and community health and wellness. We support local leaders and work together with our neighbors creating solutions for our diverse communities.