DELANO, CA — This is the Filipino Community Center in Delano, California.
For those involved with the children’s book: “Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong” — there could be no better place to launch the book’s national tour than Delano’s Filipino Hall.
The late co-author — Dr. Dawn Boholano Mabalon, a Filipino-American historian — spent countless hours researching the Delano grape strike, going over recordings of Itliong, and so much more to ensure the book told an accurate account of the labor hero.
Itliong’s family — while very humbled that his memory will live on — knows that Larry himself would not have wanted such attention.
“My father was not about him. He was about his brothers and sisters, making sure everybody got a fair chance to make a living, make a fair wage, and live a good life. And it’s a struggle that still continues today… but I’m so grateful,” said his son Johnny.
The book is now in the hands of not just children, but students at the high school and college level throughout the country.
There is even a teachers guide on how to present the information found in the book.
The book is a tribute to the legacies of Itliong, the Manongs, and now Dr. Mabalon.
And the Fil-Am community plans to continue to honor them, by ensuring more of these stories are told.
“I just think she’d be celebrating right now. She’d be loud. She’d be laughing. She would love the way things are put together and everyone coming together but I definitely….she would be like ‘ok, what’s the next thing? What are we doing next?’ Because it’s not ever stopping,” said Darlene Bohulano Mabalon.
Other cities in the book tour include Seattle, Chicago, and New York, with more to be announced.