The Dolores Huerta Foundation provides organizing training and resources to rural, low income, communities. Our community organizing model engages residents in a process of determining and prioritizing their community needs, trains them to speak directly with organizational leaders and public officials, and provides them with a platform to advocate for desired changes. Our active base calls themselves the Vecinos Unidos (United Neighbors).
Census & Redistricting
It’s important to understand the demographics of an area to ensure proper political representation. In 2010, the US Census Bureau and the California Endowment enlisted the help of DHF to reach out to “hard to count” residents. Vecinos Unidos along with DHF staff and volunteers went door to door encouraging residents to fill out their Census forms. DHF hosted 15 community presentations, trained 200 volunteers (from Vecinos Unidos and Spring Break Students), and knocked on 3,000 doors in one day. The Vecinos assisted 1,000 families with Census questionnaires throughout the campaign. In addition, President Huerta did a speaking tour in Oregon and Washington targeting Latino Communities and encouraging them to participate in the Census. She also recorded Public Service Announcements. In collaboration with MALDEF, DHF organized public workshops to educate local communities of color about the impact of redistricting and trained individuals to provide input to the California State Citizens Redistricting Commission. Working with data from the 2010 Census, DHF seeks fair representation of our congressional, state, county, and school districts.
VOTER REGISTRATION: Voter registration is an ongoing program with DHF thereby increasing voter turnout. In conjunction with California Calls, a non-partisan state-wide coalition, DHF registered over 1,000 new voters in Kern County in May & June, 2011. In addition, we helped 1,400 existing voters transition to permanent absentee ballots to increase voter participation. California Calls is an independent network of 27 community based organizations in 10 Counties including San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Ventura, Kern, Tulare, Fresno, Santa Clara and Alameda Counties. The participating agencies in the Central Valley that anchor the work in Kern, Tulare, and Fresno counties call ourselves “The Central Valley Alliance for Economic Equity”. Collectively, we were successful in speaking to over 26,000 voters and registering over 3,000 voters in the Valley.
Central Valley Alliance for Economic Opportunity Partners:
- Voter Registration Center for Race Poverty and the Environment Communities for a New California
- Dolores Huerta Foundation
- San Joaquin Valley Latino Environmental Advancement & Policy Project
- Union de Exbraceros y Inmigrantes
- United Domestic Workers
(see links to learn more about partner organizations)
VOTER EDUCATION / GET OUT THE VOTE (GOTV): During election times, Vecinos Unidos, DHF staff and volunteers participate in non-partisan GOTV campaigns to increase voter turnout. In the 2010 election, the DHF played an instrumental roll in passing Proposition 25, which reduced the minimum vote from 2/3 to a simple majority to pass the state budget and requires state legislators to forfeit pay if the budget is not passed in a timely manner. In addition, we were effective in defeating Proposition 23 which would have repealed AB32, a piece of legislation that mandates cutting greenhouse gas emissions within the state. In 2008, we urged voters to oppose Anti-gay initiative (Prop 8) which eliminated the right of same sex couples to marry in California. Since 2005, DHF has worked with statewide coalitions to defeat Parental Notification Initiatives (Props 73, 85, and 4) which would have amended the California Constitution to impede women’s reproductive rights.
CANDIDATE FORUMS: For democracy to work, voters must be engaged and educated. As such, the Vecinos Unidos community organizations host non-partisan Candidate Forums (pictured below) so local residents have an opportunity to ask questions and get to know their prospective elected officials. All candidates are invited.
The Dolores Huerta Foundation “Weaves Movements Together”: Issues of women’s rights, gay rights, immigrant rights, labor rights and civil rights are individual threads of a much larger tapestry of justice and universal human rights. Through a combination of new media, traditional media, coalition building, and speaking engagements, DHF staff, board, and volunteers raise awareness about human rights, encouraging professionals and young people alike to become activists. We encourage you to check out organizations we collaborate with at our Links Page. DHF president, Dolores Huerta, travels around the country speaking to diverse groups about the importance of civic participation.If you are interested in booking a member of the DHF team for a speaking engagement, please visit our Speaker’s Bureau.