Carson City honors late labor leader Larry Itliong with holiday celebration

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Oct. 27, 2014

CARSON, Calif. – In front of what is believed to be the largest monument in the U.S. of Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal, Filipinos honored Filipino-American hero Larry Itliong with a parade.

“It’s really a movement to get the community, and also everybody, to get to know about Larry Itliong and his role as part of the formation of the United Farm Workers Union,” said local community leader Richard Bis.

Since 2010, the city of Carson has designated Oct. 25 as Larry Itliong day.

In the 1950s, Itliong, along with other Filipino leaders, led the farm workers’ fight for better wages and living conditions. Despite Itliong’s role in helping shape present day labor unions, his work has gone unnoticed by mainstream American history, which is why leaders are pushing the movement more.

“Every year the group kept on growing and growing and growing and getting more and more support from the community,” said Carson’s Mayor Pro Tem Elito M. Santarina.

Itliong was a native of San Nicholas, Pangasinan before he worked the farms in Delano. While he’s not well known throughout Philippines, some of his province mates honored him.

But one lawmaker wants to honor Itliong nationally.

“I will do all I can, mayor pro tem, to make this a national movement, that we can honor him, and I will do all I can to make that happen,” said US Congresswoman Janice Hahn on the stage.

Last year, legislation was passed to ensure that the contributions of Filipino farm leaders were taught in California public schools. Despite the victory, it will take time and money to implement it, something that the Filipino community is working on.

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