Phillip Willkie

In the words of Mr. Willkie, “I grew up in a political laboratory. There never was a ‘children's table,’ every one's opinion was honored. Early on in life, I wanted to be a community organizer. My mentor Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers, told me that I was a natural born organizer. At 21, I had personal dealings with Cesar Chavez, including a memorable fight with him in front of a group of people. He asked me to take a walk with him. He said, ‘Dolores loves you. Any one Dolores loves, I love.’ Cesar assured me he liked people who fought. Since then, I've learned you don't really love someone until you have fought with them. Cesar and Dolores were very humble and never mentioned my political back ground. That was empowering. Over the last 40 years, I have worked with many labor unions, political campaigns, churches, and all kinds of advocacy and activist organizations. What I am most proud of is working early setting up AIDS organizations when the epidemic began.”