WASHINGTON, DC - President Barack Obama named Dolores Huerta as one of the 13 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The list includes former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Bob Dylan, former astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn, Pulitzer-Prize winning author Toni Morrison, and former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.
The Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, such as world peace or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
“These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our nation," said President Obama.
"They've challenged us, they've inspired us and they've made the world a better place. I look forward to recognizing them with this award."
Huerta co-founded with Cesar Chavez the United Farm Workers of America in 1962. As political director of the UFW, Huerta was influential in securing the passage of the Immigration Reform Act of 1986.
"I am honored to receive this award," said Huerta. "It affirms the importance of organizing to maintain a democratic society, be it for workers, women, the community, or immigrants. Organized communities guarantee civic engagement, which creates the path for a just, fair and peaceful society. Bringing our organized movements together can ensure the majority of Americans the ability fully to achieve the American dream."
Huerta was instrumental in the passage of California's Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975 and disability insurance for that state's farmworkers. In 2002, Huerta founded the Dolores Huerta Foundation with a mission of developing community organizers and national leaders, the White House said.
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