BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation declaring Sunday as Larry Itliong Day, in honor of the Filipino-American workers rights activist who helped organize grape boycotts alongside Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in the 1960s.

Itliong immigrated to the United States from the Philippines in 1929 at the age of 15 and worked at canneries and fisheries in Alaska, the proclamation states.

Newsom’s proclamation also notes Itliong’s military service during World War II and settling in Stockton where he was involved in organizing an asparagus strike in 1948 and founding the Filipino Farm Labor Union.

In 1965, after Itliong and labor organizers in the Coachella Valley won higher pay for grape workers there, Itliong joined with Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and the National Farmworkers Association to begin a boycott of grapes eventually leading to farmworker union contracts.

The recognition comes during Filipino American History Month, as Gov. Newsom’s proclamation notes: “We remember the Manongs’ message of ‘Isang Bagsak! – That we are connected together in our fight for justice, we rise and fall together. We recognize the power of working across language
and cultural barriers to fight for better working conditions for all.”

Itliong lived much of his adult life in Delano and was buried there following his death in 1977.