By Elina Urrutia IStaff WriterI
Delano Manongs:Forgotten Heros covers the story of Larry Itliong, a farm labor organizer and a group of Filipino farmworkers who launched one of the biggest American farm labor movements of all time.
The Delano Grape Strike of 1965 was the creation of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW).
While the movement is known for Cesar Chavez’s leadership, and considered a Chicano movement, many people are unaware that Filipinos played an important role.
On Tuesday, May 10, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., there will be a film screening for the documentary of Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the United Farm Workers in the SMSU Theater room.
“We are bringing the film to campus in the month of May. Specifically, because May is Asian Heritage Month and I think that would be a really appropriate celebration of Asian Heritage Month,” said Cross Cultural Center coordinator Tamara Holder.
“I think that this is a very ground-breaking discovery for our campus, to give the face of farmworkers the diversity that it deserves,” added Holder.
Itliong, a union veteran, organized a group of approximately 1500 Filipinos to strike against the grape growers of Delano, California.
This union was composed not only of Filipinos but also Chicanos and other ethnic workers.
From the unknown history of Filipinos and the UFW, to the journey to rediscover the romantic musical traditions of the haranas, to the ornately decorated jeepneys, it is an important look at the varied diversity of America and its connection to the world.
“During the farmworker strikes in the 1960s a lot of the fame and the importance went to Cesar Chavez, but not a lot of people remember that the Filipinos were the ones who actually started the cause,” said Alumni Chair of Lubos PASO Justin Escopete.
“The cause didn’t do a lot until Cesar Chavez, the Latin Americans, and the Filipinos joined forces together and through that they made a great difference in boycott,” continued Escopete.
“The Delano Grape Strike of 1965 caught my eye,” said Holder.
“Because if it wasn’t for that, I would have thought for the rest of my life that just Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Cesar Chavez made up the face of farmworkers,” concluded Holder.
Stop by the theater room on May 10 to experience the story of Filipino farm workers, who spurred the Great Grape Strike in 1965 and joined forces with the other ethnic workers to create the UFW.
“In history everyone remembers Cesar Chavez, in fact, we have a day dedicated to him, but not everyone remembers Larry Itliong and the Filipinos that started the cause,” said Escopete. “So we want people to understand that Asian-Americans made a difference too.”
The CSUSB Filipino club, Lubos PASO, will also hold an event Celebrating Filipino Culture “After You” on June 11 at the Corona Civic Center.