In honor of Cesar Chavez day last month I would like to recognize a prominent Filipino labor organizer Larry Itliong. Although today he is not as known as Chavez he is still an unspoken hero who kept fighting for what he believed in, equal labor pay for farm worker. Born in the Philippines and at age 14 moved to California he organized the West Coast agriculture movement and rose to prominence during his strike for equal pay known as the Delano grape strike. Later during the Coachella Valley strike Itliong teamed up with Cesar Chavez and his labor works. Both nationally recognized eventually stood at the board of the newly established United Farm Workers (UFW) created in 1965. Several years later Itliong decided to leave the UFW because he felt they weren’t supporting Filipinos the way Mexicans were. Although Itliong rose to fame and was able to get his cause out in the public he still took to his roots. Itliong’s loyalty to the Filipinos should be noted by today’s generation because in today’s media we see celebrities lose their values and morals to what our society want. Throughout all of Itliong’s life he had to fight for what we believe in.
Back in the 1900’s people rallied for what they believed in and had strikes to be televised, but today my youth is more passive. Speaking first hand we feel entitled and everything will be handled by someone else like authority.
We aren’t proactive we are reactive to situations that happen, we won’t start a project our self we are more than likely to bandwagon. In contrast Itliong was proactive in what he believed in and was able to accomplish what he wanted for his fellow farm workers; although, it took the majority of his life he fought for a cause. Today the youth can feel lost with media and viewpoints being thrown at us we aren’t sure what to choose; in contrast he stuck to his Filipino roots and worked more central rather than national late in life. Itliong should be remembered and become a role model to my generation because of the drive and passion he carried for his cause.
Itliong’s contribution to equal rights for farm workers effects today’s society. Living in California I see the impact of the these farm workers do today and thanks to Itliong we have now have equal rights for them. Although he is not as out spoken as Chavez that doesn’t mean he should be forgotten.
“Larry Itliong.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Apr. 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.