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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Delano Manongs

California Education Code Section 51008 reads:
The State Board of Education shall ensure that the state curriculum and framework, where appropriate, include instruction on Cesar Chavez and the history of the farm labor movement in the United States, and the role of immigrants, including Filipino Americans, in that movement, and that the state criteria for selecting textbooks include information to guide the selection of textbooks that contain sections that highlight the life and contributions of Cesar Chavez, the history of the farm labor movement in the United States, and the role of immigrants, including Filipino Americans, in that movement.
In an effort to promote the creation and availability of instructional materials aligned with this law, please support Delano Manongs, a documentary that "tells the story of farm labor organizer Larry Itliong and a group of Filipino farm workers who instigated one of the American farm labor movement’s finest hours – The Delano Grape Strike of 1965 that brought about the creation of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). While the movement is known for Cesar Chavez’s leadership and considered a Chicano movement, Filipinos played a pivotal role that began it all. Filipino labor organizer, Larry Itliong, a five foot five cigar-chomping union veteran, organized a group of 1500 Filipinos to strike against the grape growers of Delano, California."

For eight days the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) "struck alone, getting thrown out of their labor camp homes, and facing violence from growers’ hired thugs and the sheriff’s department. Yet Larry’s story and the story of the Filipinos and their union organizing efforts that began in the 1920s in the US have virtually been forgotten. Told from Larry Itliong’s perspective, the documentary follows Larry’s life arriving in the US at age 15 and immediately becoming involved with Filipino labor unions in the canneries and farm fields on the West Coast. The story of Larry and the Delano Filipinos is a history unknown to most Filipinos in the US."

For more information on the documentary and how to support it, please visit the Delano Manongs Web site at http://www.delanomanongs.com/.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

On This Day In History: February 16

On February 16, 1995, the brotherhood of Chi Rho Omicron was founded by Oscar GonzalesJoe BautistaMarc Dolor, Jay R. Ladran, Berto PalmaAugustine C. Tuliao, and Florencio G. Costales at California State University, Fresno. 
Fraternal organizations have long been part of the fabric of the Filipino American community. In the 1920s and 1930s, Filipinos faced racism, poverty, and alienation in the United States of America (USA). One of the ways they coped with these challenges was to form Filipino fraternal organizations like the Caballeros de Dimas-alang, the Legionarios del Trabajo, the Gran Oriente, and the Filipino Federation of America. These organizations provided them a tight-knit sense of community reminiscent of the strong family ties they left back home. One of the roles such organizations played was, for example, to provide full payment for members' funerals; this was particularly crucial for the large percentage of Filipinos who lived out the latter half of their lives as aging, childless bachelors. The organizations created a sense of belonging and community in the USA. 
During the 1990s, there was a resurgence of Filipino American pride, and while college entry rates were high for Filipino Americans, matriculation rates for Filipino Americans were much lower. This was reflective of the incredible pressures placed on Filipino Americans as victims of the model minority myth, cultural expectations to enter specific fields, and silent sacrifices made by Filipino American students, all creating tension within students not conducive to college completion. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

FILIPINOS PUSH TO RENAME MIDDLE SCHOOL IN HONOR OF FILIPINO AMERICAN HEROES

The community in Union City, California rally together in a march to bring awareness to the renaming of Alvarado Middle School. This school will possibly be renamed after two Filipino-American heroes Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz. It will possibly be the first school in the U.S. be named in honor of Filipinos.

Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz were Filipino-American labor leaders, farm workers, and leaders in the Asian American civil rights movement.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happy Birthday!

On February 16, 1995, Chi Rho Omicron (XPO) was founded as the first Filipino American History Fraternity in the California University School system on the belief and ideals of creating educated Filipino men that would be great community leaders, responsible fathers, and role models within our brotherhood organization. Today, one of the founding fathers of the fraternity, Wenceslao Oscar Gonzales, dedicated this 18 year anniversary to all our fathers who first taught their children the meaning of brotherhood, honoring their families, and the loyalty of friendships.

On October 18, 2000, less than six months after becoming a brother of XPO on May 11, 2000, my mom died, underinsured. The brothers stepped up to raise money and assist me in giving her a proper and dignified service. If not for XPO, I would have been alone and devastated. Rather, I learned in a very touching, moving, and inspiring way that I have a family, hope, and opportunity. Nobody will ever convince me that fraternities are another form of a gang or that we just pay for our friends. Just like how Filipinos formed Filipino fraternal organizations like the Caballeros de Dimas Alang and the Legionarios del Trabajo to cope with the racism, poverty, and alienation they experienced in America in the 1920s and 1930s, XPO provided me a tight-knit sense of community reminiscent of the strong family tie I had just lost. One of the roles such organizations played was, for example, to provide full payment for members' funerals; this was particularly crucial for the large percentage of Filipinos who lived out the latter half of their lives as aging childless bachelors. In my case, XPO helped me with my mom's funeral. It's about mutual aid and I'm proud to be reminded of that today.

Monday, January 21, 2013