MAY IS ASIAN AMERICAN HERITAGE APPRECIATION MONTH - LARRY ITLIONG AND PHILIP VERA CRUZ - IT STARTED IN ASPARAGUS FIELDS
I have always wanted to write inspiring little books for middle school students (to give them hope in this tough world) about unknown heroes of our country and our world. The first I thought about was Charlotta Bass, the first African American woman to own her own newspaper. Then I thought about Philip Veracruz and Larry Itliong - unknown heroes of people who work in the fields. It was Filipinos who organized first in the fields. Who knew? Did you?
[ONE OBSERVATION AFTER ALL MY READING ABOUT LARRY ITLIONG AND PHILIP VERA CRUZ - THERE ARE EVIDENCES OF A DIVISION BETWEEN THEM, AND PEOPLE TAKING SIDES ABOUT THE TRUE STORY. SOME FEEL LARRY ITLIONG DID ALL THE WORK, SOME PHILIP VERA CRUZ. I think one was the fighter and the other the philosopher. I HOPE THAT PEOPLE WILL SEE THIS AS A STORY OF TWO HEROES WHO WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN WINNING RIGHTS FOR PEOPLE IN THE FIELDS.]
Philip Vera Cruz was a Vice President of the Farmworkers union, the highest ranking Filipino in the union. My friend Kent Wong: "Although I was active with the United Farm Workers, Philip had to teach me that it was the Filipino Americans who first organized a farmworkers union in the San Joaquin Valley. He proudly shared the story of how the Filipino Americans launched the historic Delano grape strike. He explained that the establishment of the United Farm Workers Union was a merger between two separate unions, one representing Filipino American workers and the other with a primarily Mexican membership."
Larry Itliong - "An unsung hero, hard around the edges, Larry Itliong never bragged about his work and always put the cause above everything else, says San Francisco State University history professor Dawn Mabalon. Before he moved north to Delano, Itliong spent the spring of 1965 fighting alongside grape workers in the Coachella Valley to raise their hourly pay from a meager $1.10 to $1.40. " The workers - but only the Filipino workers - went out on strike. Latino workers kept on working and the owners took advantage of this. "Itliong, along with other Filipino leaders like Philip Vera Cruz, Pete Velasco, and Andy Imutan, realized that if they were going to win the strike, they could not proceed alone. Together, with Itliong as regional director, these men led and organized the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC). They reached out to Chavez and Huerta, who had formed the mostly-Chicano National Farm Workers Association (NFWA)."
"After several years of unsuccessful picketing, the movement called for a national boycott of table grapes. It was at this point that Delano attracted international Turtle Learning: MAY IS ASIAN AMERICAN HERITAGE APPRECIATION MONTH - LARRY ITLIONG AND PHILIP VERA CRUZ - IT STARTED IN ASPARAGUS FIELDS: