Several years ago, director Peter Bratt received a phone call. “The person on the other end,” he recalls, “was rock music icon Carlos Santana. In a mysterious and quietly urgent voice he whispered, ‘We need to make a documentary about sister Dolores, while she’s still with us.’”  And Dolores the Movie was born.

On September 10th, an enthusiastic, sold-out crowd at the Smith Rafael Film Center celebrated the life and work of pioneering activist Dolores Huerta at a screening of the new documentary. We were thrilled to have Dolores Huerta join us in person along with Deborah Santana and other special guests. Proceeds from the post-screening reception went to support the community organizing work of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized. Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the 20th century — and she continues the fight to this day, at the age of 87.

Dolores tells the story of her lifelong  crusade for social justice. The film also reveals the  personal stakes involved in committing one’s life to social change, thanks to intimate and unprecedented access to this intensely private mother of eleven. The audience at the Rafael included Latino student groups who continue to carry out Dolores Huerta’s legacy today.

At CFI we believe in the power of film to encourage audiences to question, engage and transform the world around them.  Dolores Huerta’s story is prime example of film’s ability to inform, inspire and motivate audiences to achieve great things in their own lives.