How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

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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Wanted: National Latino leader

Illustration by Jared Rodriguez, Truthout.org/Flickr (Creative Commons)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Do Latinos lack national leadership? Yes, according to a Pew Hispanic Center report released yesterday. In terms of an identifiable national "leader" for the nation's vast and disparate Latino population, there isn't one.

When asked to name the person they considered "the most important Latino leader in the country today," nearly two-thirds of the 1,375 respondents in a national survey of Latino adults conducted by Pew said they did not know. An additional 10 percent answered "no one."

From the report:

The most frequently named individual was Sonia Sotomayor, appointed last year to the U.S. Supreme Court. Some 7% of respondents said she is the most important Latino leader in the country. U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) of Chicago is next at 5%. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa draws 3%, and Jorge Ramos, an anchor on Noticiero Univision, the national evening news program on the Spanish-language television network Univision, drew 2%.

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