Born in 1930 in northern New Mexico, but raised in California, Huerta learned from her mother's example how to give back to those in need, particular the farm workers of the region in which they lived. Knowing that she wanted to have a career in public service, Huerta first pursued teaching after earning her degree from University of Pacific's Delat Community College. The poor living conditions of the students she taught disheartened her though, and after a short time she moved on, determined to improve the lives of children and families across the country. For the next decade, Huerta worked in local service organizations and eventually founded the Agricultural Workers Association in 1960. Through her work in the local Community Service Organization, Huerta met César Chavez, with whom she began a working relationship that led to the creation of the National Farm Workers Association in 1962. Respected and admired for her position as founder of the association, Huerta became a powerful negotiator and was instrumental in brokering the first ever agreement between farm workers and an agricultural corporation in 1966. Encouraged by her success and unfailingly devoted to her cause, Huerta went on to found four more organizations in her lifetime, including the Farm Workers Credit Union. For her tireless efforts on behalf of farm workers, and her strength and courage as an activist, Huerta has been awarded the Outstanding Labor Leader Award by the California State Senate and the American Civil Liberties Union Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty Award, among other distinctions. Having become a national champion of farm workers rights, and a respected activist and community service advocate, Huerta has not only fulfilled but surpassed her early dream of making a difference.
"I quit because I couldn't stand seeing kids come to class hungry and needing shoes. I thought I could do more by organizing farm workers than by trying to teach their hungry children."