Dolores Huerta

I use this example in presentations on grassroots leadership          

          Back in 1969, Delores Huerta, a founder along with Ceasar Chavez of the United Farmworkers Union, came to a picket line I was in at the San Francisco headquarters of a large grape growing company. She said, “Lets go upstairs and talk to them, ask them why they don’t treat their workers better.” It had not occurred to me that I could do that, that it was ok to go right in their offices and talk with the people working there. That emboldened me, educated me and led me for the rest of my life to not be intimidated by power.

            And getting to that picket line resulted from meeting a man named Ray Pena’ on the San Francisco beach. Ray had lost his car keys somewhere in the sand. I drove him home to get a spare key. He was an organizer for the United Farmworkers Union and got me involved. This led to me driving voters to the polls in the Mission District to vote for Robert Kennedy.  A simple act of helping another person led me to become active with that union. So it is important to be honest and truthful, it is also important to follow the golden rule and do for others as you want them to do for you.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to Amazon.com to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (wvhighlands.org), and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation (ksff.org). I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at martinjul@aol.com or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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