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Activist Dolores Huerta to receive Medal of Freedom
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Activist Dolores Huerta to receive Medal of Freedom

United Farm Workers of America co-founder among 13 recepients

  • Dolores Huerta
    Inkyhack/FlickrDolores Huerta

Civil rights activist and United Farm Workers of America co-founder Dolores Huerta will receive the nation's highest civilian honor when she is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom later this spring, the White House announced Thursday.

Huerta will receive the Medal of Freedom with 12 others, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Bob Dylan, former astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn, Pulitizer-Prize winning author Toni Morrison, and former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Huerta co-founded the UFW with the late César Chávez in 1962. She has been a community activist and political organizer, championing the rights of migrant workers, latinos, women, and the gay and lesbian community.

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.

In 1998, Huerta was awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights by President Bill Clinton.

Chávez was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by Clinton on Sept. 8, 1994.

Huerta was aboard a plane and unavailable for comment Friday afternoon, her daughter, Lori DeLeon, said.

“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," President Barack Obama said in a press release. "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.”

Next recepients of the Medal of Freedom

  • Dolores Huerta, civil rights and community activist
  • Madeleine Albright, former secretary of State
  • John Doar, civil right activist
  • Bob Dylan, musician and songwriter
  • William Foege, physician, epidemiologist and global health activist
  • John Glenn, former astronaut and U.S. senator
  • Gordon Hirabayashi (posthumous), fought against Japanese interment during WWII; convicted of defying exclusion order, which was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Jan Karski (posthumous), officer in the Polish Underground during WWII
  • Juliette Gordon Law (posthumous), founded the Girl Scouts in 1912.
  • Toni Morrison, Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist
  • Shimon Peres, President of Israel and 1994 Nobel Peace Prize recipient
  • John Paul Stevens, former U.S. Supreme Court justice
  • Pat Summitt, University of Tennessee women's basketball coach and Alzeheimer's patient advocate

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