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Fil-Ams succeed in renaming school after farm labor heroes

Filipino American students rally to get their Ujnion City middle school named after Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz.

UNION CITY, California—It’s official–Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School will be the first school in the nation named after Filipino-American heroes.

After facing months of campaigning by the Fil-Am community, the New Haven Unified Board of Education on Tuesday night approved the renaming of Alvarado Middle School to Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School, effective September 2015.

The name change honors Filipino-American labor leaders Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz, who were farm worker organizers and labor leaders. Itliong founded the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, which initiated the 1965 Delano Grape Strike later joined by Cesar Chavez’s organization, the National Farmworkers Association. The two organizations eventually merged, forming the United Farmworkers (UFW).

The school district will draw up an implementation plan to facilitate the transition, and community groups have pledged to raise funds to free the District from costs for new signage, stationary and other incidental expenditures related to the renaming. The anticipated costs have been estimated to be $15,600.

Of particular significance during the renaming campaign was the dogged organizing and leadership of Union City’s Filipino-American youth groups. Observers noted their composure and perseverance in the face of adversity, and the passion with which they organized a local rally, a march, and an educational community workshop..

Anthony Chavez, grandson of Cesar Chavez, attended the Board meeting to affirm the importance of Itliong and Vera Cruz in the development of his grandfather’s legacy and improvement of farm workers’ rights.

Chavez said his grandfather’s work would not have been possible without the help of Itliong and Vera Cruz and that renaming the school would “bring about a great unity.” Additionally, a letter of support sent by labor leader Dolores Huerta was read at the Board meeting.

The support of these two individuals and organizations such as the Fred Korematsu Institute at the Asian Law Caucus, sent the very distinct message that the name change stems from interethnic solidarity and that the benefits of the change extend to all Americans, not just those of Filipino descent.

Fundraising and planning have already begun, headed by the Pilipino American Society for Education, Filipino Advocates for Justice, JLHS Filipino Heritage Studies class, and Kaisahan. Aside from raising money, the primary goal of these groups is to educate the community to build awareness and strengthen unity among Union City’s diverse communities.

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Tags: civil rights , education , farm workers , history , labor leaders , school names

  • tra6Gpeche

    Finally! Something to be proud of as far as the Fil-Am in the US is concerned. Congratulation to those who made this possible. Labor leaders, Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz will finally be remembered for their contribution to America. The next one should be the poet & novelist Carlos S. Bulosan.

    • kanoy

      Durban – A Durban primary school will on Friday be named after convicted
      bomber Andrew Zondo, the Mercury newspaper reported on Thursday.
      Zondo was convicted and hanged for bombing the Sanlam Centre in December
      1985 and the Lovu Primary School, outside Amanzimtoti, would receive
      Zondo’s name.

      • tra6Gpeche

        Yes, naming a middle school in Union City as Itliong-Cruz middle school gives Fil-Am pride. I could care less how you feel about it!

      • kanoy

        If the naming of a school in a foreign country is all you can find PRIDE in…you are in sad sorry shape….try finding PRIDE in YOURSELF and the things that YOU do and not in what others have done and if you can somehow manage that then maybe someday they will name a school after YOU!!!!!!

      • tra6Gpeche

        No, my goal is not to have a school or squatter house in a foreign or even local town or barrio or barangay name after me. Why? I am nothing and nobody! My aim is to continue playing tennis and beat the much younger tennis players. That, I am really proud about! That is why I am in a happy and healthy shape!

    • kanoy

      The Alisal Union School District in Salinas agreed to name the new
      school in honor of Tiburcio Vasquez – who was eventually hanged for
      killing at least two people in the nineteenth century.

      Superintendent John Ramirez defended the board’s decision telling Fox
      News that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

      “Tiburcio Vasquez, along with others, was an individual who was a
      revolutionary,” Ramierz said. “He was not okay with the oppression.”

      Vasquez “was probably the most notorious bandit California ever saw,”
      according to the University of Southern California library. He was
      14-years-old when he committed his first crime – stabbing a constable.

      • tra6Gpeche

        So what is your point?

      • kanoy

        the point is,,,,since when does the name of a school matter enough to make front page headline news to another country that has the highest poverty rate in Asia? is the naming of a school in the USA going to feed a hungry family in the RP? employ them in the RP? provide medical care, alleviate poverty, catch a killer, bring justice to the RP?

        So you ask ”meaning what?” and the answer is ”EXACTLY,,,,,MEANINGLESS…..DIVERSIONARY REPORTING”

      • tra6Gpeche

        Don’t blame me. Blame the PDI. Send them a protest letter. It might work! Talking to me about that is futile, kabayan!

      • BIGButo

        There are many slow news days in the Philippines that’s why they always print these stories because there is no news are are nothing to print to be proud about in the Philippines.

    • kanoy

      Bulosan Memorial Exhibit
      Located in Seattle’s International District,
      Welcomes you to this learning odyssey on Filipino history & the labor movements which have helped to shape our nation.
      our nstion…..USA


      our nation….PHILIPPINES

      for the Philippines to find PRIDE in BRAIN DRAIN which comes from not providing these same FILIPINO the necessary help and oportunity to use their talents to advance the PHILIPPINES as a nation rather than advancing another nations productivity is absurd

      • tra6Gpeche

        Carlos Bulosan left for America on July 22, 1930. Philippines was a territory of the US during those years. Besides, it is the Fil-Am in the US finding pride in themselves and not the Filipinos in the Philippines. Big difference between the Filipinos in the Philippines and the FIL-Ams living in America! Opportunities in the Philippines? Forget it! Only if you are a politician and children of corrupt Filipino politicians in the Philippines! Then, you will have tons of opportunities.

      • kanoy

        HOGWASH!>> It is the Fil-Am in the US finding pride in themselves and not the Filipinos in the Philippines,,,??? Who are you trying to kid? I could use lots of examples but, like tits, you seen 1 you seen them both….lets use JESSICA SANCHEZ…born raised in USA…had the entire RP in tears screaming cheat!!! wahhhh

        while the RP consulate told the RP how they can cast illegal votes,,,which tens of thousands of mainland FILIPINO did
        even if the mainland news can sniff out a drop of FILIPINO blood dating back to BC its headline news NOT Fil-Am brain drain news

      • tra6Gpeche

        You are comparing Carlos Bulosan with Jessica Sanchez. These two are very different. Carlos Bulosan was born in the Philippines. Jessica Sanchez was not. Carlos Bulosan was a poet and a novelist. Jessica Sanchez was not. Carlos Bulosan did not make money by being poet and novelist (as a matter of fact, he became much, much poorer by being such). Jessica Sanchez is making a lot of money by being a singer. Carlos Bulosan was born in the year 1913. Jessica Sanchez was born in the year 1995. That’s a difference of 82 years. And most of all, very, very, very few Filipinos in the Philippines know who Carlos Bulosan is…though he was born and grew up in that country. How could they be proud of Mr. Carlos Bulosan if they did not know who he was? Even in the US, many Fil-Ams do not know him. As for the votes, Philippines has never been known to have decent, honest, civilized and violent-free election. As a matter of fact, in some parts of the country, killing is normal during election time.

      • Marx Louis Wang

        Did you know that C Bulosan as a literary figure is discussed in lectures in PH colleges especially those taking education courses. I read his short stories when I was in college myself. He is popular in PH for all you know. J Sanchez is nobody in US not even in Mexicans-Am circles.

      • tra6Gpeche

        Popular in the Philippines? Ask 100 Filipinos in the Philippines about the name Carlos Bulosan and his accomplisments and you would be lucky to meet one who knows anything about him. You must be one of the exceptions because you have a college degree in an elite University and, I assume, well traveled. And also very smart for being able to read the novel of Mr. Carlos Bulosan. And I suppose you have read his novel, “America is in the heart.” Right? Jessica Sanches? All I know is she makes money by singing in the Philippines and being paid for singing by the Filipinos in the Philippines!

      • tra6Gpeche

        I would like to add that, to me, Jessica Sanchez is neither Mexican nor Filipino. She is what I called 100% American.

      • kanoy

        BULLSHOY I am comparing Fil-Am to mainland FILIPINO you desperately need that 1 drop of FILIPINO blood to find your PRIDE in because you can’t find it in the 10 pints of blood running through your veins so you live your life vicariously through those who broke the cycle of Philippine brain washing

      • tra6Gpeche

        Let’s be clear on this. Fil-Am ( American citizens) and Filipino (Filipino citizens) in the Philippines are very different in many ways. When I said pride, I meant pride for the Fil-Am and not for the Filipino in the Philippines. Here in the Philippines, I can’t see anything that I should be proud of. Should I be proud about Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, Bongbong Marcos, Tito Sotto, Jackie and Juan Ponce Enrile and other super rich good for nothing politicians? Should I be proud about our domestic helpers or alila in the Middle East? Should I be proud about our decaying Pasig River, creeks, bridges where under them are full of miserable homeless Filipinos, Should I be proud about the way we drive on the streets where the drivers have the right of way? Etcetera, etcetera?

  • joboni96

    mabuhay kayo

    next, pilipino cabinet member

    • BIGButo

      They need to start with the Philippine government and get that fixed before worring about what is going on in the USA

      • joboni96

        tsupi ka rini
        you are an imperialist collaborator

    • BIGButo

      You are a communist leftist why should you care what happens over in America.

      • joboni96

        you are an imperialist collaborator
        tsupi ka rini

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