How Dolores Huerta Inspired Barack Obama's 'Yes We Can' Slogan

A clip from the activist's biopic "Dolores" breaks it down.

When Barack Obama bid farewell to the presidency in January, he invoked a phrase that had become a rallying cry during his presidential campaigns: “Yes we can.”

Americans had heard the former president utter the words before, but not everyone knew that the motto had roots in the 1960s United Farm Workers movement. “Yes we can” is a loose translation of “Sí, se puede” (which can also be translated to “Yes, it can be done”) ― a phrase used by labor rights activists Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta.

“Dolores,” an upcoming documentary from PBS on Huerta’s life, tackles the origin story of Obama’s “Yes we can.” An exclusive online clip of the film breaks down how Huerta was truly the first to create the motto ― a fact that Obama acknowledged when he awarded Huerta the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

“Dolores,” set to debut on Sept. 1, was directed by Peter Bratt and executive produced by Carlos Santana. Watch the documentary clip above to see how Huerta inspired Obama’s famous slogan.

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