LOS ANGELES — From hunger strikes, to rallies, and sometimes violent actions, labor leader Larry Itliong was in the thick of things —courageously leading abused farm workers in their fight for better pay and improved working conditions in the 1960s.
His youngest daughter Patty remembers seeing a softer side to her tough as nails father.
Besides being a labor leader, Larry Itliong was first and foremost a family man, and a father to seven children.
“My personal fondest memory of my dad is towards the end of his life when he was sick and he was at home and he was no longer working he spends a lot of time at home. I just felt I had a special connection with my dad and one of the things we loved to do together, it seems odd but it’s just something a memory I had, I would sit on his bed and he would brush my hair every night before I went to sleep,” said one of his daughters, Patty Itliong Serda.
Patty’s daughter Hailey, the granddaughter of Larry Itliong, never met her grandfather, but the 24-year-old teacher knows his story all too well.
“It inspires me to make a difference in my community, in my life just being a descendant of Larry is a huge inspiration to myself.”
The Delano-based librarian brought her daughter to Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown to celebrate Larry Itliong’s legacy with the Pilipino Workers Center, which continues the fight for workers’ rights.
“It’s just been an exciting time and I’m glad finally he’s being recognized for all his contributions to the farmworkers and his part for making history for all the Filipinos out here to learn and hopefully for our young people, this gives them a spark to keep on going and to learn more about their culture.”
Historic Filipinotown celebrated Larry Itliong’s birthday this past weekend with the “Justice for Journey” book tour, where actors from FilAm Arts brought the children’s book about Larry Itliong to life on stage.
From tinikling to folk dances, and a special appearance by STAR Magic’s Ylona Garcia, the community also celebrated the achievements of Filipinos in Los Angeles, making sure the youth remains involved as Filipinos strive to make a mark in history — just as Larry Itliong did.