DAUK Film Night: Dolores
was held on March 16, 2018 in London
A compelling film about one of the USA’s most important but least known activists: the perfect story for Herstory month
In collaboration with the DAUK Women’s Caucus.
We are delighted that Peter Bratt, the filmmaker, prepared a special introduction for our DAUK members: Click play
The Main Character
The Film Night
Who is Dolores Huerta?
For over 50 years Dolores Huerta has been a pivotal figure in campaigning and organizing around labor rights, civil rights, and for Mexican American, immigrants’, and women’s rights and dignity. It was Dolores Huerta who originated the slogan ‘Si, se Puede’ inspiring Barack Obama to adopt that as his core message in 2008.
This charismatic mother of 11 was at the forefront of the battle for rights of mainly Mexican farm workers in California in the 60s and 70s, working as a community organizer and co-founding with Cesar Chavez the United Farms Workers Association. They offered an inspiring combination of tactics: on the ground union organization, a commitment to non-violence, a rejection of ethnic division, building broad alliances alongside the very successful national appeal for consumers to boycott grapes.
Narrated by Huerta herself, her family, friends, and collaborators and directed by Peter Bratt, the film weaves together documentary and contemporary footage, providing an intimate insight into Huerta’s tireless battles on behalf of farm workers, as well as the personal sacrifices she made along the way.
It also tracks the links and resonances with other social movements of that period, the impact on key national political figures, such as Robert Kennedy and Gloria Steinem, and her growing commitment to feminism.
It also reveals why politics and gender led to Huerta’s absence from history books and university courses, becoming, according to the Washington Post: “… a fascinating corrective to 50-plus years of American history. It’s educational, to be sure, but also exhilarating, inspiring and deeply emotional.”
The film may focus on events of more than half a century ago, but resonates remarkably with today’s political reality, as a president with the lowest popularity ratings in history unravels the victories achieved in that remarkable period of social protest and since.
Nevertheless, it will leave you inspired to continue fighting for social and economic justice for all Americans.
About The Film Night Speakers
Dr. Michael McQuarrie is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics where he works on issues related to politics, protest, and civil society. His analysis of the 2016 election, “The Revolt of the Rust Belt: Place and Politics in the Age of Anger”, was recently published in the British Journal of Sociology. Prior to becoming an academic, Dr. McQuarrie worked as a labor organizer in West Virginia and Ohio and as a community organizer in the South Bronx.
He is currently conducting research on social and economic transformation in the English Midlands in order to understand the causes of the radical swings in voting behavior that produced the Brexit vote.
Kate Van Dermark, a San Diego native, is a former worker’s rights advocate in healthcare, emergency manager in aviation, and community organizer in social justice. She raises two feminists under two by day, and Vice Chairs DAUK Women’s Caucus by night (until 2019). She’s passionate about cross-cultural communication, privilege, and intersectionality, and has engaged in political activism since her first protest at 9 years old. She knows ‘well-behaved women rarely make history’ and advocates ‘misbehaving’ as often as possible.
Excerpt from www.Doloresthemovie.com
The Feminist Seed Is Planted. Dolores Clara Fernández was born on April 10, 1930 in Dawson, a small mining town in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Her father Juan Fernández, a farm worker and miner by trade, was a union activist who ran for political office and won a seat in the New Mexico legislature in 1938. Dolores spent most of her childhood and early adult life in Stockton, California where she and her two brothers moved with their mother, following her parents’ divorce.
According to Dolores, her mother’s independence and entrepreneurial spirit was one of the primary reasons she became a feminist. Dolores’ mother Alicia was known for her kindness and compassion towards others. She offered rooms at affordable rates in her 70-room hotel, which she acquired after years of hard work. Alicia welcomed low-wage workers in the hotel, and often, waived the fee for them altogether. She was an active participant in community affairs, involved in numerous civic organizations and the church. Alicia encouraged the cultural diversity that was a natural part of Dolores’ upbringing in Stockton. The agricultural community where they lived was made up of Mexican, Filipino, African-American, Japanese, and Chinese working families.
Photo: Dolores Huerta at the Delano Strike in 1966. By Jon Lewis, courtesy of Roy Chatfield. Walter P Reuther Library
Excerpt from the Dolores website
“Peter Bratt is an award winning screenwriter and independent filmmaker whose first feature Follow Me Home premiered in competition at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival and won the Best Feature Film Audience Award that same year at the San Francisco International Film Festival. In 2009, he and his brother Benjamin produced, La Mission, a feature film shot on location in their hometown of San Francisco. La Mission, which Peter wrote and directed, premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was the opening night film at the 2009 San Francisco International Film Festival, the 2009 New York International Latino Film Festival, and the 2009 Outfest Film Festival in Los Angeles.
For his work on La Mission, Peter received the prestigious Norman Lear Writer’s award and was one of 10 American independent filmmakers selected by Sundance and the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities to launch Sundance Film Forward – a program that uses film and conversation to excite and introduce a new generation to the power of story. Peter is the co-writer and director of Dolores, a feature documentary about the life of controversial activist, Dolores Huerta, a film he co-produced with Brian Benson and Grammy Award winning musician, Carlos Santana. Peter is also a San Francisco Film Commissioner and a long time consultant for the Friendship House Association of American Indians, a local non-profit serving the Bay Area’s Native population.”
Find out more about Dolores the Movie
Disclaimer: The screening of this film does not constitute an endorsement or promotion of the film, nor of any views expressed therein or any association with The Film Committee, DAUK, Democrats Abroad or the Democratic Party. Screenings are solely conceived as educational activities: offering an opportunity for members to discuss issues.
Links to other organizations or publications imply neither endorsement of their policies nor any association with the Democratic Party or Democrats Abroad – UK.