Assembly Passes Bonta Bill To Honor California Hero And Filipino American Labor Leader Larry Itliong

Friday, April 10, 2015

AB 7 would establish “Larry Itliong Day” in California

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) is proud to announce that his bill to establish Larry Itliong Day in California passed the Assembly with unanimous and bipartisan support (71-0). The bill would require the Governor to annually proclaim Itliong’s October 25th birthdate as “Larry Itliong Day” in the state and would encourage public schools to teach about Itliong’s life and contributions to California.

“Larry Itliong was one of the greatest labor organizers and leaders in California history,” Bonta explained. “He was a hero not only to the Filipino American community, but to all Californians and Americans who fought and continue to fight for socioeconomic and racial justice in our state and nation. AB 7 properly honors his life’s work and legacy of fighting for justice, opportunity, and equity.”

Itliong was one of the leaders of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), a union fighting for the rights of farmworkers. Led by Itliong, AWOC was the first union to strike for improved wages and working conditions in Delano in 1965, launching the California farm labor movement. AWOC and the National Farm Workers Association, led by Cesar Chávez and Dolores Huerta, joined forces soon thereafter---at the urging of Itliong---to start the now internationally-famous United Farm Workers of America.

“While the farm labor movement is often seen predominantly as a Latino movement, it encompassed much more than just one ethnic group. Filipino American and Latino labor leaders built a beautiful collaborative relationship to create the farm worker movement in California, and Larry Itliong played a critical leadership role in that movement. I’m grateful to have this opportunity to recognize his contributions to California,” Bonta concluded.

Assemblymember Bonta is the first and only Filipino American ever elected to the California State Assembly, and he explained that it’s important to him that the story of the Filipino American experience in California – a story that up to now has been largely untold – be told. As a freshman legislator, Bonta introduced AB 123 to require the state’s public school curriculum to include the contributions of Filipino Americans to the farm labor movement. Governor Brown fittingly signed that bill during Filipino American history month in 2013.

AB 7 is supported by the Alameda Labor Council, AFL-CIO; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO; Asian Americans Advancing Justice; Asian Pacific Environmental Network; California College and University Police Chiefs Association; California History Center Foundation De Anza College; California Immigrant Policy Center; City of Berkeley; Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles; Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Society; Filipino American National Historical Society, Santa Clara Valley Chapter; Filipino Senior Citizen Association; GK 1 World Foundation;  Little Manila Foundation; Philippine National Day Association; Philippine Weekend, Inc.;  San Francisco State University; and Yerba Buena High School.

Visit AB 7 to read the full text of the bill.

Assemblymember Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro. Bonta Chairs the Assembly Health Committee; the Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee; and the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color. He is also a member of the following committees: Appropriations, Budget, Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services, Joint Legislative Budget, and Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management.