Carson Library hosts panel, film on Fil-Am history and manongs
CARSON, California – A large audience attended the City of Carson Library’s Filipino American History month celebration October 18, which featured the screening of the Emmy award-winning documentary “Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the United Farm Workers.”
Also featured were panelists led by California State University Northridge Professor Allan Aquino, who discussed the origin and significance of Filipino American History Month.
Filmmaker Marissa Aroy depicted the little known pivotal role of 1,500 mostly Filipino farm workers from the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) AFL-CIO who started the 1965 Delano Grape Strike and Boycott.
They were led by Larry Itliong and other Filipinos, and were later joined by Cesar Chavez and his predominantly Mexican National Farm Workers Association (NFWA). The two groups merged to become the United Farm Workers Union (UFW).
Aquino recounted how the October 18, 1587 journal entry of Pedro de Unamuno documented the landing party at Morro Bay, CA, included “Luzon Indios,” (Filipinos) from the Manila galleon, Nuestra Senora de Esperanza, which marked the arrival of the first Filipinos on the continental United States.
In 2009 the California State Senate recognized October as Filipino American History Month upon the urging from the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS).
Aquino was joined by speakers Rose and Florante Ibanez and retired Judge Casmiro Tolentino. who recalled the early 1970s social justice and identity movements that drew Filipino American students and prompted the formation of campus organizations that fought for ethnic studies, faculty and more recruitment from underrepresented communities.
In the audience was also Jennifer Masculino Tolentino, who together with Tolentino and Florante Ibanez co-founded the UCLA Samahang Pilipino student organization in 1972.
The audience was a cross section of local students, families and educators. They learned about the Filipino People’s Far West Conventions (1971-1982), which became an annual educational reunion for community activists, students and leaders to discuss issues and exchange strategies to solve them.
They also indentified the Far West Conventions cultural play and musical productions as precursors to today’s campus Pilipino Cultural Nights (PCN) and the creation of the West Coast Confederation of Pilipino Students (WCCPS) as a larger formation of today’s popular local campus umbrella group, Southern California [email protected] American Student Alliance (SCPASA).
In a related Filipino American History Month event on October 21, Aroy together with Mayor of Cerritos Mark Pulido also spoke during the film screening at University of California Irvine’s Cross Cultural Center.
There Aroy explained that her documentary has received wider publicity and screenings in part due to the controversial minor portrayal of Filipinos and Larry Itliong in the recent Hollywood-released “Cesar Chavez” feature film.
In that predominantly student audience, one student was brought to tears on learning of how those maltreated Filipino elders, often now referred to as manongs, struggled for dignity.
The Carson Library Filipino American History Month celebration was a joint project of the Filipino American Library (FAL) and the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Los Angeles chapter and co-sponsoring groups included, Carson Friends of the Library, Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, INQUIRER.net , Serve the People Institute, SaySay Project of FilAM Arts and Larry Itliong Educational Foundation.
On October 13, the local “Kababayan Today” TV Program on Channel 18 featured Ron Buenaventura of FANHS-LA and Florante Ibanez of FAL, who promoted and expanded on educational aspects of the Carson Library event. Pre-program Filipino food and refreshments were hosted by INQUIRER.net.
For more information on the film go to: http://www.delanomanongs.com/
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