On August 11, the city of Bakersfield, California held a special celebration for a very special woman. After a lifetime of advocating for the civil rights of farmworkers, Dolores Huerta was surprised to learn of plans to honor her legacy with a multi-million-dollar community center in downtown Bakersfield.
“When this was first presented to me at the Foundation, I thought, ‘really?’” she told a crowd gathered at the site of the future facility during a ceremony. “It took a lot of people working together to make this happen.”
The ceremony was held to celebrate the passage of the California fiscal year 2021-22 budget, which includes a $15 million allocation for the Dolores Huerta Peace and Justice Cultural Center. The allocation nearly fully funds the Center, which is planned for 2100 H Street at the site of the Bakersfield Self-Help Federal Credit Union branch.
The H Street location will be the future headquarters of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, and also will house a youth center, a cultural center honoring the many diverse people who live in the Central Valley and an events auditorium. Among the resources offered will be early childhood development programs.
The Bakersfield branch, which currently takes up a portion of the property, has a long history with Dolores. In 2010, the credit union merged with Kern Central Credit Union which had merged with the Farm Workers Credit Union in 1995. Founded in 1963 by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, the Farm Workers Credit Union served as the first financial institution for farmworkers in Kern County. To find out more about how Self-Help Federal’s legacy ties with their remarkable farmworker advocacy, watch our short video, “Kern Central Credit Union: A Legacy of Serving Workers in the Fields.”
“We knew from day one, that with all this extra land, we had to do something special,” Self-Help Federal President Steve Zuckerman said. “We had to do something that would add to the community of Bakersfield and the Central Valley.”
The Self-Help branch will be demolished, and a new branch will be built on the corner of H and 21st Streets.