Street renaming ignites push to recognize more women leaders


Brian Delgado

Dolores Huerta, founder & president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and Cofounder of the United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez, spoke at the “Empowering La Comunidad”-Gentrification Town Hall.

Russell Navarrette, Community News Reporter

Cal State LA professor and activist Leda Ramos wants to see more streets in Los Angeles named after prominent Latina women leaders.

Recently, Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León proposed to change a Boyle Heights’ street name from Lucha Reyes St. to Vicente Fernandez St.

The proposal has faced pushback due to allegations that Fernandez groped women and made homophobic comments.

De Leon’s office could not be reached despite emails.

Ramos believes that if the name changes, then it should be a woman role model’s name.

“By beginning the trend of naming streets after women, it gives young girls something to look up to,” she said.

In 2017 and 2018, Ramos organized a 50th-anniversary event to honor Dolores Huerta at Dolores Huerta square in Boyle Heights and thought the civil rights icon’s name should be chosen to replace Lucha Reyes St.

Huerta played a key role in creating labor laws to protect farmworkers, coining the term “Si se puede,” and working with civil rights activist Cesar Chavez and Larry Itliong, a Filipino American labor leader, to create the United Farm Workers.

Ramos said there was so much support to help her organize the event to honor Dolores Huerta. People like musician Alice Bag and Emiliana Guereca, the Women’s March Foundation founder. In a Facebook post, Ramos wrote, “What world do we live in where we have almost ZERO streets named after POC women in Los Angeles?”

Ramos, who teaches in the Chicano studies department, said she had had several students that did not know of Dolores Huerta until they got to college.

Most of the Los Angeles council members are men, she noted. Out of 15 elected officials, just three are women.

Ramos said that women are constantly fighting patriarchy, a system or government in which men hold power and women are largely excluded from it.

She said that de Leon’s proposal resembled a type of patriarchy because his approach to the proposal didn’t involve community input, which is essential when it comes to changes in the community. After all, it brings people together and allows everyone to feel they are part of a community and allowed to be heard.

Community News produces stories about under-covered neighborhoods and small cities on the Eastside and South Los Angeles. Please email feedback, corrections and story tips to [email protected].