Push to Rename School After Fil-Am Labor Leaders

Filipino students, parents, teachers and their supporters are petitioning the New Haven Unified School District in Union City, California to change the name of Alvarado Middle School in honor of Filipino American labor heroes Philip Vera Cruz and Larry Itliong. One in five students in the New Haven Unified School District are Filipino, and one in three residents in Union City are Filipino. Rarely celebrated and often forgotten in the battle for farm workers rights and the movement for civil liberties, Vera Cruz was one of the founders of the Agriculture Worker Organizing Committee (AWOC), which later merged with Cesar Chavez’s National Farm Workers Association (NFWA). It later gave birth to the United Farm Workers (UFW). Itliong founded the Filipino Farm Labor Union (FFLU) and was the president of AWOC. The two convinced Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta’s predominantly Mexican/Latino National Farm Workers Association to join the Grape Strike and Boycott of 1965 demanding better pay and benefits. Together, Filipinos and Mexicans formed the UFW.