‘Dolores’ sheds light on workers’ rights hero

Saturday, 07 October 2017, 12:00:03 PM. To the list of such documentaries as “I Am Not Your Negro,” “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975” and “20 Feet from Stardom,” films that shed much needed light, we can now add Peter Bratt’s glorious “Dolores,” a film celebrating Dolores Huerta, Mexican-American civil rights leader and co-founder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers.

To the list of such documentaries as “I Am Not Your Negro,” “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975” and “20 Feet from Stardom,” films that shed much needed light, we can now add Peter Bratt’s glorious “Dolores,” a film celebrating Dolores Huerta, Mexican-American civil rights leader and co-founder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers.

Still cutting a heroic and dynamic figure at 87, Huerta is one of those interviewed for this film, including Angela Davis, Hillary Clinton, Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva, Gloria Steinem and most of Huerta’s (still angry) 11 children.

A force of nature, Huerta worked tirelessly, sacrificing time with her children to found the UFW, lead demonstrations against the oppression of the agribusiness owners in the Southwest in the 1960s, fight racism facing Mexican-Americans and others that made it possible for owners to pay so little and force workers to live in poverty, and organize people across the country to join the grape boycott that finally brought owners to the bargaining tables.

The film is more than enlightening on the subject of Huerta, who is in danger of being written out of history, in spite of a Medal of Freedom awarded by former President Barack Obama. The film is also a history lesson about the civil rights movement, workers rights movement, feminist movement and the movement to protect the environment and how they are all connected and strengthened to one another. Bratt’s command of the subject matter and of the still photos and archival clips makes “Dolores” a revelation. Huerta originated the political slogan, “Si se puede,” which translates roughly as, “Yes, we can.” For her part, Huerta wanted to be a dancer.

(“Dolores” contains no objectionable material.)

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