Civil Rights Activist Dolores Huerta and Former U.S. Representative Luis Gutiérrez to be Featured Speakers at MEDA Annual Gala

Christopher Gil
Associate Director of Marketing and Communications
Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)
(415) 282-3334 ext. 152

August 23, 2019

Civil Rights Activist Dolores Huerta and Former U.S. Representative Luis Gutiérrez to be Featured Speakers at MEDA Annual Gala
Both will speak of the need to recharge a civil rights movement as part of a national movement

San FranciscoThe Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) has announced the featured speakers for its ¡VIVA MEDA! 46 Annual Gala: Dolores Huerta, the distinguished civil rights activist,  community organizer, and founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation; and former U.S. Representative Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) of Chicago, a staunch supporter of immigration rights. MEDA’s annual event — to celebrate 46 years of building equity through Latino wealth, place and power — will be held Thursday, Oct. 3, with the venue the stunning City View at Metreon. (Tickets.)

Huerta and Gutiérrez are national leaders who will reframe “The Big Picture,” which is MEDA’s event theme. Such a reframing is vital in these times of political vitriol and the continued affront to the Latino and immigrant community. As longtime fighters for equity, Huerta and Gutiérrez are best positioned to deliver the message of the need to recharge a national civil rights movement across the land.

Explains MEDA CEO Luis Granados, “It is exciting for the community to be able to hear not just one, but two powerful featured speakers at our 2019 gala. Both Dolores Huerta and Former U.S. Representative Guttiérrez are sure to inspire the crowd on Oct. 3, and we will be honored by the presence of these national heroes. Their choice as featured speakers reflects how MEDA has been sharing its models locally, statewide and on a national level — models centering on the preservation and production of affordable housing in a gentrifying neighborhood, a CDFI loan fund that provides access to capital to those who cannot do so at traditional lenders, plus financial integration into direct services. Additionally, our policy and advocacy work has been turning clients into constituents who are making their voices heard as we recharge a civil rights movement.”

Huerta is Founder & President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. She  is best known as a civil rights activist who, with César Chavez, was the co-founder of what became the United Farm Workers. Huerta has received numerous awards for her community service and advocacy for the rights of workers, immigrants and women, with accolades including: the Eugene V. Debs Foundation Outstanding American Award; the United States Presidential Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Additionally, she was the first Latina inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, back in 1993.

Guttiérrez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, served from 1993 to 2019 as the U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 4th congressional district, which is 72 percent Latino. Guttiérrez was elected to 13 consecutive terms. Like Huerta, he is an outspoken advocate of the rights of workers, immigrants and women. In support of the Latino immigrant community, Guttiérez penned the American Hope Act of 2017, which would have offered the opportunity for DACA youth to apply for legal status, if they met certain requirements, to young immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before their 18th birthday and before Dec. 31, 2016. 

Explains Huerta of the ideas she will put forth at the event: “I look forward to meeting and speaking with the Latino community of San Francisco, which has remained strong in the face of the unprecedented challenges of gentrification and its subsequent displacement. I am also proud to be able to take the stage and detail the genesis of the Latino civil rights movement, and how we must today leverage those successes and strategies to recharge a new civil rights movement in this time of political strife.”

Says Former U.S. Representative Gutiérrez, “It will be an honor to share the stage with Dolores Huerta, who laid the groundwork for a Latino civil rights movement that granted the disenfranchised their civil rights. In my political career, I have harnessed the power of that initial movement to spur concrete change to better the lives of those less fortunate. This work is crucial and must continue.”

Tickets to !VIVA MEDA! 46 are now available on Eventbrite at


About Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)
Rooted in the Mission and focused on San Francisco, MEDA’s mission is to strengthen low- and moderate-income Latino families by promoting economic equity and social justice through asset building and community development.

About Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF)
DHF is a 501(c)3 community benefit organization which recruits, trains, organizes, and empowers grassroots leaders in low-income communities to attain social justice through systemic and structural transformation. DHF hires and trains full-time organizers who form neighborhood organizations called Vecinos Unidos (United Neighbors). Through this program, DHF has built a powerful network of over 20,000 supporters, volunteers, and voters in the rural agricultural communities of Arvin, Lamont, Weedpatch, Greenfield, Bakersfield, and California City (Kern County) Lindsay and Woodlake (Tulare County) Sanger and Parlier (Fresno County). The residents of these communities are primarily Latinx, immigrants, and low-income.

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