Who is She?

Who is She 33? – Dolores Huerta

Short version: 
So this will be my only new piece for Women’s History Month 2019. It’s a larger illustration of Dolores Huerta featuring many symbols that represent parts of her life both big and small. Dolores is one of the most revolutionary women living. As the co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union her selfless activism and organizing helped to not only change the lives of the farm workers across California, but it continues to inspire young women and people all over the world.
It is a crime that more attention, respect, and admiration is not given to her. I just finished working on a project about her and had the chance to learn a lot more about her. But, if you’re not familiar with Dolores, I highly recommend watching the most recent documentary by Peter Bratt. It will give you a good glimpse into her life. Then go check out her foundation because she is still organizing! I give Dolores and her family so much respect and thanks. Happy women’s day!
Longer Version: 
So, here is a slightly longer version but I am not going to go over her entire life just some of the words, drawings, and symbols I included. I would highly suggest watching the documentary if you are not a reader. If you’re a reader go check out her foundation.
Stockton– Ok so Dolores was born in Dawson New Mexico, but she grew up in Stockton California. Although her dad was a farm worker and organizer, she was raised by her mom and siblings. There she watched her mom hold down jobs and eventually run a hotel which was not a typical thing for most women to do in the 30s. It was through her mom that she got her first feminist role model; saying that she never had to cater to her brothers. Her mother made them all work equally; which is often not the case in some Latinx families. Dolores attended school in Stockton in what was a very mixed setting, but she also experienced racism there in the treatment of students of color and her education.
Dancing/Jazz-Dolores loved to dance and she loves music. One of her favorite genres is Jazz. She helped organize a dance, danced herself, and made time to go see musicians play live.
Fred Ross-After working as a teacher and witnessing the conditions the children of farm workers lived in she dedicated her life to organizing. It is then that she met Fred Ross who ran the Community Service Organization (CSO). He taught Dolores about organizing and she became a bad ass at it. She was so persuasive and hard working that they soon promoted her to take policy changes to the states capitol.
Cesar Chavez-Another bad ass who worked with and was trained Fred Ross is Cesar. Cesar grew up as a child of farm workers and understood their experiences first hand. He was also a star at organizing and soon Fred was partnering Cesar and Dolores up. Cesar would also go on to be one of the most revolutionary activists of his time.
NFWA-National Farm Workers Association– Together Dolores and Cesar left the CSO and co-founded a small organization aimed at specifically organizing Latinx farm workers in Central California. They called it an association rather than a union because unions were outlawed and union organizers were being hunted.
Huelga sign– After getting a jump from the Filipino workers AWOC (Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee) they joined forces with Dolores and Cesar to form what would become world famous as the United Farm Workers or UFW. The symbol for their flag inspired by Aztec iconography and later becoming a symbol for organizing, social justice, and Chican@ pride. The word Huelga means “strike” in both Spanish and Tagalog the languages spoken by the multicultural UFW.
Si! Se Puede!– Dolores was a leader who often went into towns, cities, and communities to speak with folks, hear their needs, and to organize them.  She did this with wit, strength, and humility. But, if anyone ever told her she couldn’t do something which both white folks and macho men of color often did, she’d say yes we can. Si Se Puede! Which is a slogan she came up with and was later used by Barack.
The Feminist fist– I included this because although Dolores was brought up Catholic in a traditional Latinx family she was brought up with some very feminist ideas. And when she met feminists on a trip to NYC to promote the grape strike of the mid 60s she gained some new ideas. At first she didn’t rock with all of what they said, but then slowly she started to change her mind, incorporating them into her life. This is important, because of in el movimiento there can be sexism. Women from the Black Panther Party have spoken about this as well.
Family-So Dolores amazingly had 11 children! She now has 17 grand kids as well. So, as a movement parent she lifted up farm workers and fought for revolutionary causes. She worked tirelessly to do this for decades. But, her family life was sacrificed in many cases. She got married three times and often was away organizing. Her grown children have not held back in saying they were sometimes angry with her, left behind, or frustrated. They understand why she did what she did, but it was not easy. Somehow with little to no money (organizers don’t get paid often) she raised and got help raising her kids.
Billy club- I put that in there because she was beaten by the San Francisco Police Department. They broke her ribs and she had to be hospitalized. She has been arrested over 20 times in her life.
Why? Ok, so why did Dolores do all this work? Why sacrifice? A couple of reasons. The Mexican and Latinx workers who grew, picked, and serviced the farm lands that feed the United States were being exploited. They were being ripped off financially. Whenever possible the white farm owners undercut their pay. leaving them with not enough money to pay for proper housing (Dolores’ mom often let workers stay for free because of this) , food, clothing, and/or schooling for their kids. Their kids could not attend school, they had to work in the fields to help support the family. The working conditions were horrible. Imagine bending over all day to pick fruits and vegetables without proper breaks, no drinking water, no bathrooms, or shade. Workers were . threatened if they asked for these things and fired if they attempted to form a union. They had no sick time, no benefits, no regular raises, and no support if they got ill. Lastly,  the farm owners were poisoning their workers as they worked them to death (life expectancy was in the 50’s). The farm owners had their fields sprayed with harsh chemicals such as DDT known to cause cancer. Because of all this Dolores was passionate about fighting for these workers.
Victory-And you know what? They organized among the Filipino and Latinx workers striking for years, bringing down a boycott that reached across the US . This eventually took so much money out . of the growers pockets that they forced them to the negotiating table, winning better working conditions, rights, and pay for the families. Dolores is a bad ass!
There’s a lot I’m leaving out, but please check out more of the drawing and go find out more about this woman’s life!   If you wanna see more women I’ve drawn for Women’s History Month check these past examples:

More Bad Ass Women – Women’s History month

Since I am making the decision to finish up some work that is on my plate that needs to be done, and I needed to take a break from my series “Who is She?” focusing on women’s history month figures I wanted to post some of my favorite ladies who I’ve drawn over the past two years or so. I’ll be back with more. Please celebrate and share art about women in the past and present who are making history. Our boys and girls need to see it.

Top to bottom, left to right (Inktober, BLK History month, Asian American heritage month, and Women’s History Month): 1. Elizabeth Catlett-Artist, 2. Sara Khosjamal Fekri- Martial Artist 3. Sandra Equihua -Animator/Character Designer 4. Bessie Coleman- Pilot 5. Idayls Ortiz – Judo Olympian 6. Roxanne Shante- Pioneering MC 7. Iris Chang – Writer 8. Merata Mita – Maori Filmmaker 9. Lisa Lee- Pioneering MC 10. Chhaya Chhoum- Organizer 11. Shine Louise Houston- Porn Filmmaker 12. Ava DuVernay- Filmmaker 13. Jackie Ormes – Cartoonist 14. Harmony Santana 15. Debbie Tewa- Solar Electrician 16. Peggy Oki- Skater/Surfer

Dig this? Check out this drawing of Ramona Africa

Who is She? 32- Jessica O. Matthews

Jessica Matthews is inventing new ways to make use of everyday happiness to produce energy. Jessica is from Poughkeepsie New York. Her parents are Nigerian and she is a dual citizen in the US and Nigeria. She is a graduate of Harvard and is an inventor. I found Jessica through Blavity’s “Afro-Tech” conference which highlighted Black folks doing amazing things in the tech world. While in school, Jessica used some of her course work and projects to create a project that would be inspired by her many visits to family in Nigeria. Millions of people live without regular electricity, something I take for granted. They use kerosene lamps and gasoline powered generators. Jessica found a way to use a soccer ball to generate electricity. After many prototypes she invented a soccer ball called “Soccket” that when played with generates and stores electricity that can later be used with lights, cell phones, radios, etc. Since the invention, she taught herself some things about electrical engineering and she co-founded a company called “Un-charted Play” that re-envisions everyday objects like a luggage wheel, jumprope, pants (rubbing together), and the soccket to create electricity. Jessica has been featured in various publications and invited to many places such as Forbes, The White House, the Harvard Foundation, and Black Enterprise.
Sources: Blavity/Afro Tech, The Aspen Institute, UnchartedPlay.com

Who is She? 31 – Tracy Chou

Tracy Chou is an advocate for diversity in the Tech industry. A Bay Area native, she was born in 1987, and attended Stanford. She has written articles, spoke at conferences, and confronted the issue at large companies as an insider. Tracy’s name kept coming up on my feed over the past few years just researching more about the field of technical and non-technical founders. She is a part of a much larger voice of women, people of color, queer folks, and white ally’s working to bring in more voices into these companies that are affecting and changing the world. Tracy grew up in Silicon Valley, and actually has two parents who were involved in engineering. She started as an intern like many do in the tech world at companies like Google, and went on to work for some of them who were start ups such as Facebook, Pinterest, Rocket Fuel, and Quora. While working she became aware of the glaring fact that these spaces were mostly white and mostly male. So, like many others who have spoke out or founded their own initiatives she started to investigate. She wrote some pieces on medium and began collecting data about how many women were working at tech companies in technical positions. This was four years ago. Companies were shy to release the stats because they knew it would reflect a huge problem. Companies like Google, Intel, Apple, and more started to show what their staff’s diversity or lack there of looked like. And sadly, things are not changing fast enough. Props to Tracy for being an advocate for bringing more women, queer folks, and people of color into the fields. Not only that, but trying to encourage young girls to get into tech and putting up with the backlash from people who may never “get it”. Tracy has been interviewed or featured on sites or in spaces such as Tech Crunch, Vogue, Fast Co, Wired, CNN, Mother Jones, Today, and many more. She now works in New York and is continuing to code and to fight. Check out her articles “Where are the numbers” and “Why I care about diversity in tech”.

Sources: We Code Harvard, Medium, Mercedes Benz, Twitter, triketora.com

You can purchase this piece, email me at info@robdontstop.com $40 (includes shipping) , i will donate a portion to Tracy’s next mission to promote diversity.

Who is She? 30 – Kimberly Bryant

Kimberly Bryant is the founder of “Black Girls Code”. She is an electrical engineer from Memphis, Tennessee born in 1967. She earned her degree at Vanderbilt college and began working for companies like Westinghouse, DuPont, Pfizer, and Genentech. But Parenthood has a way of opening your eyes to things that were not as noticeable before. BGC was founded because Kimberly’s daughter took an interest in computer programming, but could not find a program as diverse as her city. So, she made one. It started in Oakland in 2011 at the HUB with Bryant teaching her daughter and some of her friends some basic coding. It has expanded to other cities in the Bay Area and has gone across the U.S. teaching young women of color in more inclusive spaces that reflect them rather than turn them away. If you are unaware, in the last 3-4 years large tech companies we use everyday started releasing their numbers and much to the tech communities surprise the number of Black folks and people of color were tiny. Founding BGC was a ground breaking move because it helped spark a conversation in the Black community, a movement of girls of all backgrounds to get into coding, and it helped Bryant secure funding to bring the program internationally. If you can see it, you can be it. And if an invite is extended people will come. Kimberly has been recognized by Forbes Magazine, Business Insider, the White House, Fast Co, Tech Crunch, and more.
Sources: SF Chronicle, BlackGirlsCode.org, Wikipedia

WhoisShe? 29 – Ruth Asawa

Ruth Asawa was born on a farm in southern California in 1926. She and her family were interned around the time of World War two. When she could, she left to study at the Milwaukee Teachers College. Later she would spend time at La Universidad de Mexico. In Mexico and while interned she learned to make art with whatever materials she could find around her. After Mexico she studied at an experimental college called Black Mountain great artists such as Ora Williams and Willem de Kooning. She made at continuously from a very early age up until when she passed. She is most famous for her sculptures of orb like tear drops that sit or hang from the ceiling. But she also created large scale metal sculptures, some of which still stand today in San Francisco. Her work is abstract to me. In addition to making art, she also served as an arts advocate for the city of SF, and for arts programs in schools. She helped garner funding and start art programs in schools. She had six children and passed away in 2013. Her work has been exhibited countless times and is still in collections and being viewed today.
You can purchase this original $40, 8″x8″ mixed media on paper, please email at info@robdontstop.com
Sources: Kqed, Oakland Museum, Wikipedia, http://www.ruthasawa.com/

Who is She? 28 – Yolanda Lopez

Yolanda Lopez is a Xicana artist from San Diego, California. She was born in 1942 and came to San Francisco in the late 60s around the time of some serious social movements with the Panthers, recent the United Farm Workers, and the SF State strike to put in ethnic studies in the school (which she was involved in). The first time I saw Yolanda’s work as a painter it was “La Virgin” piece that she did of a woman running with a flag using the same backdrop as the famous “Virgin de Guadalupe”. This painting was part of a series depicting every day women of color and it hit because there were not many artists depicting brown women like that. The next time I saw her work was the famous illustration of an indigenous Aztec man pointing with the quote “who’s the illegal alien pilgrim?!”. That blew my mind when I saw it, because I’d heard folks talk about Raza that way, but never saw someone flip it on Europeans. In addition to being an illustrator/painter she produced films too! in fact she is also an amazing photographer. Most recently at the Mission Cultural Center I saw some of her photos of homegirls hanging out, from car clubs, probably some who were family too. Her photos provided a glimpse into San Francisco and Xican@ culture that I’d never seen before so vividly in photographs. She is an inspiring artist and a teacher of many. And her son Rio happens to be a dope artist and human being too.

You can purchase this original piece $40, email me at info@robdontstop.com 8″x8″ mixed media on paper

Sources: http://mamiverse.com/, Wikipedia, Mission Cultural Center

Who is She? 27 – Kara Walker

Kara was born in Stockton California in 1969. She grew up there until she went to college at Atlanta College or Art, and later Rhode Island School of Design. She is currently a professor at Columbia in NYC. The first time I saw Kara’s work was at Parsons in New York City while finishing up my BFA there. Her piece “event horizon” caught my eye and it wasn’t until I was taken on a tour of art galleries in Chelsea that I saw an entire show of her work. There I was blown away because I’d never seen someone do art like that. I kept wondering how the hell she got these uppity art folks to let her get down like that, speaking on racism and the treatment of Black folks in such a in your face, no apologies, satirical way. Kara has worked as a painter, but she’s best known for the paper cut outs she’s done. Most recently, her show “Domio Sugar” had hella people I know posting about its use of similar subject matter and the scale to which she took the sculptures. She’s had over 40 solo exhibitions in places like Oakland, Austria, The UK, Spain, Italy, and so many other places across the U.S. 
You can purchase this piece. Email me at info@robdontstop.com 8″x8″ mixed media on paper
Sources: Art 21, Wikipedia, WalkerArt.org

Who is She? 26- Lucia Rijker

Lucia is one of the greatest fighters to step into the ring. Hailing from the Netherlands, Rijker was born in 1967. She started fighting at the age of six beginning her training in Judo, moving on to fencing, kickboxing, and boxing. As a muay thai kickboxer she has over 37 fights, 36 wins, 25 by knock out, and one draw. As a boxer she had 17 fights , 14 she won by knock out. She was the subject of a documentary called “Shadowboxing” about women in boxing and has appeared as a fighter in the film “Million Dollar Baby” and various other films and tv series. She was inducted into the international hall of fame. She has fought fighters from all over the world and has amassed a collection of titles starting in the early 80’s and lasting until she retired in 2007.  Looking at footage of her fight I see extreme power and intense focus. Besides lending her expertise and voice to this day she is also a practicing buddhist.
If you would like to purchase this piece please email me at info@robdontstop.com , 8″x8″ mixed media on paper.
Sources: Shadow Boxers (film), Sporteology.com, doghouseboxing.com, Wikipedia

Who is She? 25- Lady Sensei

Lady Sensei is a black belt in ninjutsu and has earned several other ranks in weapons and self defense training. She has been studying martial arts for 10 years and started training as a student of the great Ronald Duncan. In addition to her martial arts training, she is a licensed firearm carrier and shooter. And she has skills in de-escalation of conflicts. She teaches and is still training in martial arts. She is one of the highest ranked women in martial arts today.

Dig this? Check out Master Watts

Sources: Ladysensei.com, ancientfuturecollective.com