Bonta Bill on Filipino Americans and Farm Labor Movement Curriculum Heads to Governor

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) is proud to announce that his bill to require public school instruction on the contributions of Filipino Americans to the farm labor movement in California passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support (36-1). AB 123 now moves to Governor Brown’s desk for review.
“The goal of AB 123 is to supplement California’s rich farm worker history with the contributions of the Filipino American community. The Filipino American population composes the largest Asian American population in California and continues to grow; yet the story of Filipinos and their critical contributions to the farm labor movement is an untold part of California history,” explained Assemblymember Bonta.

AB 123 would give students a more complete account of California’s farm labor movement and ensure that these important leaders, such as Philip Vera Cruz and Larry Itliong, are remembered by future generations of Californians.” Dolores Huerta, who was recently inducted into the California Hall of Fame as an iconic social justice and labor rights activist, stated that she did not want to miss this historic opportunity to support AB 123. “The students of California need to learn that the sacrifices made by both the Filipino and Latino workers benefitted all Californians. AB 123 will ensure that the history is taught accurately,” said Huerta.

"The Cesar Chavez Foundation and farm worker movement celebrate passage of AB 123 because we often heard Cesar Chavez make it clear that Filipino American grape workers began the Delano grape strike by walking out of the vineyards on September 8, 1965, and then asking my father's mostly Latino union to join their picket lines,” stated Paul Chavez, President of the Cesar Chavez Foundation and son of Cesar Chavez. “My dad knew the Delano strike would not have triumphed and established the United Farm Workers as the nation's first successful farm worker union were it not for the heroism of the Filipino American strikers."
Bonta concluded, “It is crucial that we ensure that our students learn a complete account of historical movements in California and American history, such as the farm labor movement. The current curriculum only tells part of this important story of racial and socioeconomic justice.  The full story has gone largely untold for too long; it is my hope that Governor Brown will embrace the importance of teaching our youth this critical history by signing AB 123 into law.”

Learn more about the role of Filipino American farm workers and Assemblymember Bonta's legislation in this Assembly Web Report: