Celebrating Larry Itliong’s Filipino farm labor legacy in the Central Valley

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DELANO, Calif. (KGET) — Sunday, farm labor supporters from across California came out to Delano to celebrate the inauguration of Larry Itliong day.

Larry Itliong and his legacy are what Tulare and Kern county celebrate as Oct. 25 officially becomes Larry Itliong Day in California.

“That’s the whole spirit of AB7 and Larry Itliong day: to make sure that this incredible person that inspired me who; changed the world, changed the state, changed the nation that people know about him because not enough did,” Rob Bonta, California Attorney General, said.

The Larry Itliong Resource Center opened in Poplar, Calif., a 30-minute drive north of Delano.

Supporters formed a caravan traveling from the town to the county line in Delano where the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS Delano) met them for the symbolic ceremony.

“We’ll extend hands and welcome the group from Tulare county from Poplar to Kern county and Delano to celebrate and recognize the struggles of farm workers from today and yesterday,” Suzanne Villaruz, the program coordinator for FANHS Delano, said.

“We remember the heroes who led especially our early farm workers who came here alone often and fought and toiled and fought for change and also so we inspire our next generation to make sure they know people that look like them from their communities fought and made change to this great state and in this nation,” Bonta said.

The celebration comes at a time when some think the state and nation have only just begun to scratch the surface for showing recognition towards Asian Pacific Islanders (API) for their work and achievement.

“We are in this moment of recognizing that we are not taking care of our API community and not recognizing the contributions the API community has made to the state of California,” Assemblyperson Mia Bonta for Calififornia District 18 said. “It’s incredibly important to be able to celebrate Larry Itliong in this moment.”

Rob Bonta said Larry Itliong’s leadership in the grape strike in Delano was monumental in igniting the motion to create the United Farm Workers.

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