Friday, March 28, 2014
As Dean Kevin Johnson blogged earlier, today is Cesar Chavez day in California. It is wonderful that students in California (and other states) learn about the advocacy work that Cesar Chavez did to help create better working conditions for farm workers and other immigrant workers.
To me, this day is also a call to remember the other unsung heroes of the farm labor movement. There were other advocates who worked alongside Cesar Chavez. Some of them were Filipino farmer workers known as "Delano Manongs." One of these manongs was Larry Itliong, who was a labor organizer who led a group of 1,500 Filipinos to strike, like Cesar Chavez and other Mexican American workers, against the grape growers of Delano, California.
Although I have yet to see the new Cesar Chavez movie , my 5th grader saw it today with her classmates and she explained that the movie showed the collaboration between the Delano Manongs and Cesar Chavez and other farm workers. A new documentary, "Delano Manongs," provides a more in-depth account of the advocacy work of these Filipino farm workers in improving the working and life conditions of immigrant workers.
Moreover, through a bill (AB 123) that was sponsored by Assembly Member Rob Bonta and signed by Governor Jerry Brown in October 2013, students in California will learn about the contributions of Filipino farm workers to the California labor movement.
So on this Cesar Chavez Day, let us honor not only Cesar Chavez but also Larry Itliong and the Mexican American and Filipino American workers (and others) who worked alongside to help improve the lives of farm workers in California and the United States.