Who is Larry Itliong?

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Oct 07 2010 07:02 PM | Updated as of Oct 08 2010 03:02 AM

Filipino labor organizer gets his day in Carson, California

CARSON, California – October is Filipino History month in the US and Filipinos in Carson, California celebrated a victory. The city is now the first US city to pass Larry Itliong Day.

“It’s bittersweet to hear Cesar Chavez...in Delano there’s a school Cesar Chavez, there’s a street Cesar Chavez. But not to hear anything about Larry Itliong, that is painful. It’s painful to my family, yet sweet because Cesar, I called him uncle,” said Jonny Itliong, son of the late farm worker, Larry Itliong.

Jonny Itliong is leading a movement to have his father honored by the US.

Most US history books and the United Farm Workers say that it was Mexican Cesar Chavez that led the farm workers' movement.

But according to Filipino historians, it was the Delano Manongs, which included Itliong, Philip Veracruz, and Pete Velasco that led the farmers fight for better working conditions. The movement started with the Delano grape strike in the 1960s. This is when Chavez and his group joined in the strike.

“Hopefully, I can work with them to correct this and bring this out. It’s our history, this is important history,” said Itliong.

Larry Itliong Day will be set for October 25th, his birthday. Last month, Los Angeles adopted a resolution honoring the Delano farmers as a group.

Carson’s Filipino Mayor Pro Temp, Elito Macapagal Santarina, called on his colleagues to honor Manong Larry. All five council members voted to approve the resolution.

“Because of the presence of the Filipino Americans in Carson, we have to let them know the truth of the facts about his contributions. Larry Itliong is our role model,” explained Santarina.

Jonny Itliong plans on taking the resolution to other cities with large Filipino populations. He hopes to have the entire state recognize it and eventually make it a national day of remembrance when he takes the cause to the federal government. Balitang America