Across the United States, there are nearly fifty streets and public parks named after the United Farm Workers’ union activist Cesar Chavez. And for Chavez’s partner and co-founder of UFW, Dolores Huerta - how many streets have been named for her? None. In fact, most people probably have never even heard of Dolores Huerta. Thankfully that’s about to change with the enlightening and engaging documentary, “Dolores.”

Director Peter Bratt gets a call about Dolores

Director Peter Bratt had known of Dolores Huerta back in the 1970s, when as a child, he and his Peruvian Indian mother had marched with Dolores and Chavez. Over the years, Bratt had stayed in touch with Dolores and even asked for her support with his second feature, “LA Mission.” But he had never thought about taking on a film project about the legendary Dolores until he received a call from another icon.

Bratt remarks, in his film’s production notes, that one night he received a call from music legend Carlos Santana saying “We need to make a Documentary about sister Dolores, while she’s still with us.” Bratt then realized his calling. His next project would be “Dolores.” (Carlos Santana is an Executive Producer of the film.)

Dolores as activist

Dolores was born in New Mexico, and grew up in Stockton, California. Her mother owned an affordable 70-room hotel, and Dolores saw firsthand the plight of the downtrodden farmworkers. After college, she joined and became a leader in the Stockton Community Service Organization, where she met Chavez. In 1962, she and Chavez launched the National Farm Workers Association, which would later become the United Farm Workers union. Dolores was a skilled organizer and a tireless lobbyist.

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She was instrumental in securing the right for better working conditions and wages for farmworkers through the heralded grape boycott among other protests.

Dolores as mother and feminist

Yet it wasn’t easy for Dolores. Through the film’s wealth of newsreel footage, interviews with colleagues, politicians, historians, and 10 of her 11 children, we learn that Dolores’ career choice was thorny. First and foremost, she was an outspoken woman. That’s a trait that doesn’t go over well today, much less in the 1960s and 1970s. She and Chavez had famous arguments, but always made up, and both agreed that their arguments pushed each other to their best.

Plus, she was a twice-divorced mother of eleven children (four with Chavez’s brother, Richard). She often had to leave her children with others while she traveled for work. This pained both children and mother. Some members of UFW, as well as corporate bosses and the media attacked Dolores for not being a traditional wife and mother. Yet when interviewed, her children do have tearful memories, but also have the utmost respect and pride for their 87-year-old mother, who is still an activist today.

Award-winning ‘Dolores’ hits festivals and theaters

“Dolores” has screened in over a dozen film festivals, including Sundance and AFI Docs. The film has been awarded the Best Documentary Award and Audience Award at festivals like San Francisco International Film Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival and Montclair Film Festival. “Dolores” is now rolling out in theaters beginning in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s a strong documentary about an important, inspirational woman who is finally getting her due. Put this documentary on your “must see” list.

“Dolores” is 95 minutes, Not Rated and is playing in Los Angeles at the Nuart Theatre.