How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

American snapshot: Veterans Day

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC


I came across this banner with a familiar name last year while driving through the southeast L.A. County city of Bell Gardens, where banners displaying the names of the city's predominantly Latino military members adorned light posts along the main streets. (And no, the Marine mentioned on the banner is not the late civil rights and labor leader, who served in the Navy.)

To Mr. Chavez, his fellow Marines and other members of the U.S. military, along with their families, thank you for your service, and for the many difficult sacrifices you have made.

Happy Veterans Day.

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Navy names ship for Cesar Chavez, but controversy hasn't died down yet

Photo by Official U.S. Navy Imagery/Flickr (Creative Commons)


The criticism lobbed at the U.S. Navy since last week by some politicians and pundits for its decision to name a ship after the late labor leader and civil rights icon Cesar Chavez didn't stop the Navy from moving forward.

Last week, the Navy formally announced that the latest ship in its Lewis and Clark class of cargo vessels would be named for Chavez, who served in the Navy between 1944 and 1946, to honor the many Latino shipbuilders responsible for the construction of these and other ships. But the firestorm that has surrounded the vessel's name has yet to completely die down.

Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, a Republican from East San Diego County and former Marine who set off the controversy after he complained about the Navy's decision, has now introduced legislation directing the Secretary of the Navy to name the next available ship after the late Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta.

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The naming of a Navy ship after Cesar Chavez draws political fire

Photo by jay galvin/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A UC San Diego mural honoring Chicano history and Chavez, April 2010

Multi-American's sister blog Home Post at KPBS in San Diego, which reports on the military, has posted a piece on the controversy over the naming of a U.S. Navy ship after the late labor leader Cesar Chavez. From the post:

The United States Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, is headed to San Diego tomorrow to announce that a ship will be named after labor leader Cesar Chavez. General Dynamics NASSCO spokesman James Gill told the Associated Press it’s a way to pay homage to the Latino workers who built the dry cargo ship, and the neighborhood (Barrio Logan) General Dynamics calls home.

But Congressman Duncan Hunter Jr. of East San Diego County, a Republican whose retired congressman father was a driving force behind construction of the border fence, is complaining about the decision. From his

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The forgotten history of the Filipino laborers who worked with Cesar Chavez

Photo by TK/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A mural commemorating the late labor leader Philip Vera Cruz, who worked alongside Cesar Chavez, May 2010

For those closely related to the farm labor movement of the 1960s and 70s, the story of Asian American farm workers and the extent to which these workers were involved in the movement is fairly common knowledge. But for many others familiar with the legacy of labor and civil rights leader César Chávez, whose birthday was celebrated yesterday as a state holiday, the story of the Filipino laborers who worked side by side with him is a piece of near-forgotten history.

The Filipino American culture website BakitWhy.com featured a film trailer yesterday for a documentary titled "The Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the UFW" that tells the story of United Farm Workers of America leaders Larry Itliong, Phillip Vera Cruz, Pete Velasco, and Andy Imutan, all of whom were instrumental to the farm labor movement.

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