Union City School changes name to honor Filipino American Farm Labor Leaders

alvaradomiddleschoolAlvarado Middle School in Union City California will officially change its name to Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School this September.  Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz were farm worker labor leaders instrumental in the founding of the United Farm Workers.   The change was not without acrimony.  The school board decision was made with a close 3-2 vote.  Some parents opposed the change and set up this change.org petition to have the decision reversedRacist graffiti was later found on local Filipino businesses, some with apparent references to Alvarado Middle School.

One fifth of Union City’s population is Filipino, as are one third of its students.

(photo credit: Union City Patch)
(h/t Rosemary)

October 25 in California is now Larry Itliong day

larryitliongmuralOn June 30, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed bill AB 7 making October 25 in California Larry Itliong day.  Who is Larry Itliong?  He was one of the key Filipino contributors, along with Phillip Vera Cruz (shown on the left, Itliong is on the right) to the founding of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union.  While Caesar Chavez has his own California holiday, Larry Itliong’s role has been considered as neglected in retellings of the UFW’s storyRob Bonta, the first Filipino American elected to the California State Legislature, was the principal author of this bill.  The documentary The Delano Manongs:  Forgotten Heros of the UFW covers the story of Larry Itliong and other Asian Americans in the Farm Worker Labor Movement.

(photo credit:  Timothy Biley under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

CAAM: The Golden Spike

The_Golden_Spike2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of the western half of the Transcontinental Railroad by Chinese immigrants.Often, the immigrant Chinese’s role in this historic accomplishment has been literally white washed.

As part of celebrating Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, the Center for Asian American Media-produced YouTube-hosted mini-documentary presents the story of these 10,000 forgotten workers through photographs, paintings and political cartoons from the period.


Chinese Railroad Workers Inducted into the U.S. Labor Hall of Honor & Reclaiming Promontory Point


On May 9th, history was made as the Chinese Railroad Workers were inducted into the U.S. Labor Hall of Honor. You can view the entire ceremony on the Department of Labor’s YouTube channel. If you don’t happen to know:

OSECRailroadWorkers_new“But too often lost in discussions of this awe-inspiring achievement is the contribution of the approximately 12,000 Chinese laborers who took on the grueling task of completing the western section of the track. It was backbreaking, dangerous work. Many of these workers died from the harsh winters and brutal conditions. They laid tracks on terrain that rose 7,000 feet in less than 100 miles, chipped away at the granite and planted explosives that were used to blast tunnels through the treacherous Sierra Nevada Mountains.”

the first transcontinental railroad was built with the help of Chinese laborers, which has often been forgotten and erased from history at Promontory Point , as I had blogged about previously.
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First Asian Pacific American Worker Congress To Be Held in Los Angeles


On Saturday, March 15, 2014, the first Asian Pacific American Worker Congress in Los Angeles will be held at the Service Employees International Union #721 at 1545 Wilshire Blvd. from 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. More than 100 Asian American workers from unions, worker centers, and community organizations will attend. It’s the first time in Los Angeles such a forum has been held, which will empower the Asian-Pacific community to discuss improving conditions in their workplaces, as well as immigrant rights.

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