Governor Approves Bonta Bill To Establish “Larry Itliong Day” In California

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

AB 7 Honors California Hero And Filipino American Labor Leader

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) is proud to announce that Governor Brown signed AB 7 today. The bill requires the Governor to annually proclaim Larry 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. By signing AB 7, Governor Brown guarantees that Itliong’s work and legacy of fighting for justice, opportunity, and equality will be properly honored for generations to come.”

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, the movement 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 and am thrilled that Governor Brown understands the important role Itliong played in California history,” said Bonta.

As the first and only Filipino American ever elected to the California State Assembly in the history of the state, Bonta is committed to ensuring that the Filipino American experience is accurately reflected in California history. One of his first acts as an Assemblymember was to introduce AB 123 to provide students with a more complete account of California's farm labor movement and ensure that Filipino American leaders are remembered by future generations of Californians.

Bonta concluded, "I was thrilled that Governor Brown signed my AB 123 during my first year in the Assembly. The incredible and transformative contributions of Filipino Americans to our state have been missing from our history books for too long, and it's encouraging that this more complete story will now be told in our classrooms. Now, with the addition of AB 7, I am confident that within the next few years, these contributions will be more commonly known as a critical part of the rich and vibrant collective history of our state," Bonta concluded.  

AB 7 passed both houses of the Legislature with unanimous and bipartisan support and 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; the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color, and the Public Health and Developmental Services Committee. 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.