HomeFilipino AmericanFilipino American labor icon Larry Itliong honored with park naming

Filipino American labor icon Larry Itliong honored with park naming

The United Farm Workers owes its beginnings in large part to Larry Itliong and the 1965 grape strike he led in the Central California town of Delano.

This past weekend, the city cemented that legacy by opening a city park in his name, reports Bakersfield Now.

Larry Itliong Unity Park opened to fanfare with hundreds of people in attendance. His son teared up recalling what his father meant to the community.

“It didn’t matter what color you are, he helped anybody, didn’t matter what political party, what you felt, how you felt, or what you felt about him, you needed help, he would help you,” said his son Johny Itliong to KBAK. “What I’m trying to do is tell people ‘Hey you know what, don’t get your feelings hurt so easily, cause your feelings hurt is not racism. Stand up, be a man, be a woman, help each other, and that what my father’s message was”

Itliong worked with Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta to launch the United Farm Workers.

“Now people will know we meant something in labor history. We stood shoulder to shoulder with our Mexican brothers and created the UFW,” Filipino American Suzanne Villaruz told the Bakersfield Californian.

The $4.5 million project also includes a playground and the only pool in Delano where temperatures in July can hit a high of 99 degrees.

Huerta called Itliong a “fearless leader” and urged everyone never to forget his legacy and that of the first generation Filipino Americans who worked the agricultural fields.

“This park is really a big step in bringing our Filipino cultural history into our town and bringing awareness,” Cherry Papoy of the Filipino American National Historical Society said.

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