Pinoy lawyers in California want school facility named after Larry Itliong
A group of Filipino lawyers in Southern California has submitted a proposal to name a Long Beach school facility after Larry Itliong, the Filipino labor leader who was among those who advanced the rights of grapevine workers in the US in the 60s.
Ireneo A. Reus III, a Philippine American Bar Association board member, told Press Telegram last December 5 that Itliong's heritage and contributions to the US would "inspire students" and highlight the achievements of Filipino-Americans.
"Filipino leaders are not highlighted very much," Reus noted, adding that their proposal, which was submitted to the school district on November 16, "will highlight Long Beach's rich diversity and make it more inclusive and historically accurate."
"Larry Itliong worked with Cesar Chavez, but his contributions are many times omitted," Reus said.
Meanwhile, funding for the renaming of the Alvarado Middle School after Itliong and fellow Filipino-American labor leader Philip Vera Cruz concluded through concerted efforts by Filipinos living in Union City, according to Philippine News.
Alameda County District 2 Supervisor Richard Valle explained that the two leaders, who founded the United Farm Workers (UFW) Union, deserved recognition for being "champions for the working people".
"I have seen that people who struggle in life oftentime do not get the recognition that they deserve during their own lifetime," Valle said. "It is always after the fact."
"And I think it is important that we recognize people who made the sacrifices that served as great examples to our community and how two people can make a huge difference," he added.
The legacy of the Delano-based "manong" received much attention in recent years, with NBC running a profile on Itliong and his struggles to get his fellow union workers proper wages.
Itliong, who died in 1977, migrated to the US in 1929 at the age of 15. Working as a migrant farmworker in Montana, South Dakota, Washington and California, he saw the plight of other labor workers, especially Filipinos.
Larry Itliong Day was celebrated by Filipino-Americans last October 25 after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill commemorating his birthday two days prior to the celebration, according to NBC. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News