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California City apologizes for anti-Filipino riots

The city of Watsonville south of San Francisco formally apologized for the anti-Filipino Race Riots of 1930.

The Inquirer reports the Watsonville City Council passed a resolution Tuesday expressing regret for the death of a Filipino man and several days of rioting by White agitators.

The violence lasted 5 days with Filipino American workers being beaten on city streets after being accused of taking jobs and women from Whites.

22-year-old  Fermin Tobera died after being shot.

“[They] came here in the 1920s and ‘30s to work the land … they were brought here as cheap labor,” said Filipino American Roy Recio to Good Times SC. “They did the jobs that no one else wanted to do … 10 hours a day, hauling irrigation pipes, picking strawberries, making people rich. They sacrificed, they struggled and persevered to bring us here today.”

Recio is working with the Tobera Project to chronicle Filipino American history.

Mayor Rebecca J. Garcia introduced the resolution with the support of California Assemblyman Rob Bonta, the first Filipino American in the state legislature.

“I appreciate your willingness to issue this apology,” Bonta said, according to the Panjoronian. “It’s deeply meaningful. It expresses an intention of inclusion and forward-thinking. It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing.”

The Watsonville City Library is currently exhibiting Watsonville Is in the Heart, a project inspired by America Is In the Heart, a classic novel from Filipino American author Carlos Bulosan.

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