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Dolores Huerta Speaks to Students About Covered California

Civil rights leader Dolores Huerta visited Fresno State to inform students of the upcoming open enrollment deadline for Covered California.

Social justice activist Dolores Huerta visited students at Fresno State Friday to remind them of an important upcoming deadline.

March 31 is the deadline for open enrollment in Covered California, the state's version of the Affordable Care Act.

As of last week, more than 1 million people had signed up for Covered California, according to information from the organization. While that may sound like a lot, that's less than half of the estimated 2.6 million eligible people in California.

Huerta, a well-known civil rights leader known for her role in the Central Valley's labor rights movement, is now helping to lead another effort.

"So many people have worked for justice, to help people get justice and protections and the Affordable Care Act," Huerta says.

In the Central Valley, about 64,189 people have enrolled in Covered California as of Feb. 28.

Now with only ten days left in open enrollment, there's a greater push to get young people signed up.

Lecturer Melissa Knight says it was pivotal for her students to hear from an activist who fought for many of the issues plaguing the Central Valley.

"We're the leading folks--Fresno--leading concentrated poverty in the U.S., so absolutely, poverty, and access to health care, failing health care," Knight says these are among the topics her students learn about in class.

Covered California's Executive Director Peter V. Lee also spoke alongside Huerta.

Her visit was also part of Covered California's targeted efforts to inform and enroll Latinos in the Central Valley.

"Help us out, be an organizer, talk to your friends, talk to your family, talk to at least five people that you know to see if they've got the coverage," Huerta says.

Student Jaclyn Kraft says she appreciates the message.

Having speakers come to Fresno State and inform the students who can inform their families about it is a really cool thing," Kraft says.

For those who still need to sign up, there will be counselors available to help this Saturday at the Fresno Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Gems and Minerals Building. The fairgrounds are located at 1121 S. Chance Ave. in Fresno.

After March 31, those who are eligible but did not enroll will be subject to a penalty.

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