Ms. Chávez is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF). From the DHF headquarters in Bakersfield, Ms. Chávez oversees training for low-income community members in the areas of leadership and organizing skills specific to civic and electoral participation so that they can become catalysts for change in their own communities.
The ideals of non-violence, selfless motivation and personal responsibility were instilled in Camila by her parents Richard Chávez and Dolores Huerta. Camila grew up at the UFW Headquarters of La Paz where those same ideals were reinforced through the actions of people like her Uncle Cesar E. Chavez.
After graduating early from High School in spring of 1994, Camila participated in the UFW’s historic 343 mile Pilgrimage from Delano to Sacramento. The goal of the Pilgrimage was to show the world that in spite of the passing of Cesar E. Chávez, the union was alive and well. During the twenty-five day pilgrimage, Camila performed nightly as a member of Teatro Peregrino to convey to workers the benefits of creating a union in their own workplace.
Camila’s academic career led her next to Mills College in Oakland where she successfully balanced her undergraduate studies with her passion for working to achieve social justice. She served as a campaign coordinator for the Stop Prop. 209 Campaign, which fought to save Affirmative Action in California.
After graduating in 1998, Camila worked in the public health arena for five years promoting Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and other health coverage programs for low-income and undocumented families in San Francisco and Alameda Counties.
In 2003, Camila returned to the Central Valley to establish the Dolores Huerta Foundation with Dolores Huerta. Camila is convinced that it is our responsibility to take advantage of every opportunity to develop leadership, in ourselves and our communities, by building consensus around a common set of principles, values and priorities. It is the process of pursuing a life of principle we are able to ensure human rights.
Some of Camila’s accomplishments with the Foundation include:
- Establishment of over 40 DHF grassroots community organizations in six communities in Kern and Tulare Counties working on neighborhood improvements and community projects, including a youth leadership program.
- A successful campaign for just wages which resulted in a wage increase for farm workers in Southern Central Valley in 2005
- The Defeat of Propositions 73, 85 and 4 which would have amended the California Constitution to impede women’s reproductive rights.
- Defeat of an anti-immigrant resolution proposed in the Bakersfield City Council in September, 2007.
- Establishment of first micro-lending pilot project targeting farm workers in the Central Valley.
- Development and implementation of teen pregnancy prevention campaign.