Los Angeles City Council declared May 5 “Miguel Contreras Day.”
BY Cameren Barnes
In commemoration of the life and legacy of Miguel Contreras, executive secretary of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, for his leadership and helping to establish the labor movement, the Los Angeles City Council declared May 5 “Miguel Contreras Day.”
Councilman Pro Tem Curren Price, who led Friday’s presentation, acknowledged Contreras’ work in welcoming African American, Jewish and LGBTQ communities into the federation and cementing it as a political structure. He also noted Contreras’ efforts in transforming and diversifying politics by electing people of color and women — many of whom, Price described, as warriors.
“Here’s to the legacy of a trailblazer who helped diversify the political and economic landscape of the greater Los Angeles area and California politics,” Price said.
Civil rights leader Dolores Huerta joined Price in recognizing Contreras legacy. Huerta recalled when she and a 19-year-old Contreras participated in the famous grape strike in the Central Valley of the state.
“He had so much leadership qualities, and he did it with his intelligence and determination. So from being a strike captain on the picket line, he went on to manage some of our field offices in the United Farmworkers,” Huerta said.
“He went on to the hotel workers union, and everywhere that he went, he really worked to make sure that he workers and representation.”
Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, who married Contreras, said their mutual love for the cause, for workers rights, brought them together.
“Miguel, the brilliant political strategist had a vision ahead of most of us,” Durazo said. “He was determined to help build a labor movement with true solidarity. He knew he had to bring Latinos and immigrants together with African Americans and unionized workers, and then use that power to create a Middle Class standard for all workers.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, First District, also presented a county resolution to Durazo and her son Michael, in addition to Price’s resolution, recognizing Contreras’ legacy.
“This day is special because it’s a day of recognition for all the work that Miguel, his foundation, his wife, his family have done for so many of us,” Solis said. “In recognition of his dedicated service to the labor community, and for transforming the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor into a dynamic and powerful force for social change.”