Delano, CA — The newly formed Delano chapter and its parent organization, the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS), will host a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike with a series of events over Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 5 and 6, in Delano, CA. Dubbed “Bold Step,” the weekend will focus on the momentous decision to strike, and celebrate the strike’s legacy in the Filipino American community in Delano and across the nation.
The weekend’s events will kick off on Saturday, September 5 at the Filipino Community Hall, the historic building where the strike vote was taken and the headquarters of the first years of the Grape Strike. The program will include presentations by strike veterans, scholars, community activists, and local community leaders. A highlight of the weekend will be a screening of the Emmy-award winning documentary, Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the United Farm Workers. New York-based filmmaker Marissa Aroy, whose family roots are in Delano, will be present. The weekend will also include bus tours of local historic sites.
The Delano Grape Strike began on September 8, 1965, when thousands of mostly Filipino American grape workers walked off of the vineyards in Delano. The Delano Grape Strike sparked the farm labor movement of the 20th century, one of the most significant social justice movements in American history. From the strike came the multiethnic farm laborer’s union, the United Farm Workers.
Moreover, the strike raised global consciousness about the plight of farmworkers. It was a pivotal moment in which Filipino Americans made their largest and most significant imprint on the American narrative. That bold step taken by these Filipino workers — most of whom were senior citizens in the twilight of their lives — inspired labor movements and movements for civil rights and social justice amongst Filipino Americans and Americans of all backgrounds.
In the late summer of 1965, the small agricultural town of Delano was energized as thousands of Filipino migratory farmworkers arrived for the grape harvest, as they had done every year through most of the 20th century. The workers, most of whom were members of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee union (AWOC, AFL-CIO), were fresh from the Coachella Valley, where they had struck and won $1.40 per hour for the grape harvest. The migrant workforce shared the grocery aisles and streets with the 13,000 or so permanent residents eager to fatten their paychecks from harvesting boxes of Thompsons, Calmerias, and Ribiers – popular varieties of the finest table grapes in the world. With a prosperous season, they could make enough to get by the lean winter months.
When Delano grape growers refused a wage of $1.40 per hour, anticipation and excitement turned to conflict and tension. Led by a veteran union organizer, AWOC’s Larry D. Itliong, the doubtful and frightened grape workers — more than a few with families and mortgages – gathered at the Filipino Community Hall on the evening of September 7 to consider an action that would throw their lives and their community into chaos. They voted to strike. The next day, several thousand laborers in about 20 individual farms left the precious crop on the ground and walked off on September 8, 1965, in a unified declaration for a fair wage and decent working conditions for the farm worker.
Growers evicted Filipinos from their homes in the labor camps and hired Mexican scab workers. Violent clashes erupted between law enforcement and strikers, but Filipino workers remained militant. Itliong made the fateful decision to approach Cesar Chavez and his mostly Mexican worker’s association, the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), and asked them to join the strike. On September 16, 1965, the NFWA voted to join the AWOC. In 1966, the AWOC and the NFWA merged to form the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee. Cesar Chavez was named director, and Itliong served as the UFW’s assistant director from 1966-1971.
Fifty years later, the courage to make that stand at such a high risk resonates in the prosperity, diversity and growth of Delano and the Filipino American community nationwide. Filipino Americans are now the largest Asian American group in California, California’s third largest minority group, and the second largest Asian American group in the United States. Latinos and Filipinos are the two of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the nation. Despite the growth of the community, the history of Filipino involvement in the farmworkers movement has been largely obscured.
On July 2, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill establishing October 25 as Larry Itliong Day. In 2014, the California State Legislature passed AB123, which calls for students to learn about Filipino American farm labor organizing history. Both bills were sponsored by Rob Bonta, the first Filipino American elected to the California State Assembly. Recently Union City, CA renamed a middle school the Itliong/Vera Cruz Middle School to honor the UFW vice-presidents, and a bridge in San Diego, California was recently named Larry Itliong/Philip Vera Cruz.
Speakers and a detailed program will be forthcoming. A link to a schedule of events to date (subject to change). For more information, please visit the FANHS/Delano Chapter Facebook page. For ticket information, a link to ourEventbrite event.
Contact: Alex Edillor, (661) 331-4547
FANHS (www.fanhs-national.org), headquartered in Seattle, Washington, was established in 1982 and consists of 33 chapters nationwide. Members are scholars, educators and community members who preserve, document and share the rich history of Filipinos in the United States. The Delano Chapter was chartered in June, 2015.
At 8:15 AM on August 6th, the announcer at the 70th Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony asked us to observe a moment of silence. It was precisely then, 70 years earlier, that Little Boy fell from Enola Gay and turned the city into a hell zone. Above an army of cicadas chirping away, we all bowed our heads as officials rang the Peace Bell, each gong pushing us to reflect on what happened then, what is going on now, and what we can hope for in the future with respects to creating a world free of nuclear weapons and at peace.
The Mayor of Hiroshima provided the annual Peace Declaration, doves were released into the crowd, representatives from Hiroshima schools announced the annual Commitment to Peace, all before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took the podium. With his strong handed push for legislation rescinding Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution to remilitarize, all eyes and ears were hoping to hear something new but only received a similar line that other PMs have used stating that it is Japan’s duty to push for a nuclear free world. The Governor of Hiroshima and a representative of UN Security General Ban Ki-moon delivered remarks before the audience joined in the Hiroshima Peace Song to end the ceremony.
However, before this all occurred, a small group of peace protestors outside the Atomic Bomb Dome brought out the police and security forces en masse from the night before the ceremony and into the morning. These protestors pointed out the irony that PM Abe would be speaking about peace and nuclear non-proliferation since it is unclear how far Japan will go should it remilitarize. Many yelled to give peace a chance. Some suggested that should Japan become a military power, it will want a nuclear weapon in the same way other nations surrounded by nuclear powers want them.
Walking through the Peace Park after the ceremony, attendees gathered around to pay their respects at various monuments made specifically for groups of people who perished in Hiroshima, like the Monument Dedicated to Korean Victims and Survivors, and many others queued up to walk to the main altar where the names of the victims and survivors who have passed away is updated and kept. I found myself remembering my previous Peace Memorial Ceremonies and the summer I spent working at the Hiroshima YMCA’s International Youth Peace Seminar in 2000 as I walked up to the Cenotaph to say a prayer. I remember praying then as I did today for there to be fewer nations who possess nuclear weapons; for a President of the USA to come to Hiroshima and deliver remarks rather than send the Ambassador to Japan or other official to sit in the crowd; and for conflicts around the world to be handled through diplomacy rather than military strength. This year, I added a few prayers that Prime Minister Abe stops his current push to remilitarize Japan, that Iran never be able to arm a nuclear weapon, that President Obama can in his final months in office take bigger strides on decreasing the nuclear stockpiles of the USA, Russia and other nations.
Here’s to hoping that the next time I come to Hiroshima, I’ll be able to remove some of those prayers from my list because we as a global community have done more to create the world that we want to live in free from the fear of nuclear weapons and devastating armed conflicts.
Tom Nakanishi is a political consultant in Los Angeles who has worked for President Barack Obama, Senator Mazie Hirono and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He attended Yale University and Harvard Kennedy School where he concentrated in American Studies and political advocacy and leadership.
The UCLA Asian American Studies Center would like to thank Tom Nakanishi for sharing his reflections and photos from the 70th Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony with us!
Thursday, August 6th, 2015 marks seventy years since the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, which was followed three days later by a bomb on Nagasaki.
Dr. James Yamazaki was a medical researcher with the US Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission. The team went to Hiroshima and Nagasaki after World War II to study the effects of the atomic bomb. A piece by NBC News this week focused on Dr. Yamazaki and shared some of his research findings, as well as his perspectives against nuclear warfare.
The UCLA Asian American Studies Center worked with Dr. Yamazaki on a companion site to his book Children of the Atomic Bomb. The website features drawings from survivors, images, videos, resources, and lesson plans that can be used to learn and to discuss more about the effects of nuclear weapons. You can visit the site here: http://www.aasc.ucla.edu/cab/.
From Amerasia Journal 27:3 -28:1 “After Words: Who Speaks on War, Justice, and Peace?”
In addition, Dr. Yamazaki wrote an article for Amerasia Journal, which was later republished in Asian Americans on War and Peace (UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press). In Yamazaki’s piece entitled “Why Does a Pediatrician Worry About Nuclear Weapons” he shares his experiences during World War II and what his work with the US Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission has meant to him, especially in regards to his stance on the use of nuclear weapons. We are making this article available for free for a limited time. Download Dr. James Yamazaki’s Why Does a Pediatrician Worry About Nuclear Weapons today and read more about the atomic bombs’ impact.
Children of the Atomic Bomb website: http://www.aasc.ucla.edu/cab/
Available for purchase: Asian Americans on War and Peace (Buy online now)
Link to NBC News feature on Dr. James Yamazaki: “Hiroshima 70th Anniversary: Nuclear Bomb ‘Should Never Be Used Again'”
2015-16 Lucie Cheng Prize Nominations
Amerasia Journal invites faculty to nominate exceptional graduate student essays (masters and doctoral level) in the interdisciplinary field of Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies for the 2015-16 Lucie Cheng Prize. The selected article will be published in Amerasia Journal, with a $1,500 prize to be awarded to the winner.
The Lucie Cheng Prize honors the late Professor Lucie Cheng (1939-2010), a longtime faculty member of UCLA and the first permanent director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center (1972-1987). Professor Cheng was a pioneering scholar who brought an early and enduring transnational focus to the study of Asian Americans and issues such as labor and immigration.
Submission: Nominations must be submitted via email by the graduate advisor by October 1, 2015, with notification to the winner by the end of the calendar year.
Nominations are to include:
1. Graduate Advisor Name, Title, Institution, and Contact Information
2. Graduate Advisor Recommendation (500-word limit)
3. Graduate Student Brief CV (2 pages)
4. Essay (5000-7000 words) in a MS-Word file, formatted according to the Amerasia Journal Style Sheet; for journal style guidelines, see: http://www.amerasiajournal.org/blog/?page_id=42.
Submit materials and queries to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Amerasia Journal Call for Papers
Graduate Student Scholarship in Asian American Studies
Professor Yến Lê Espiritu (University of California, San Diego) and Professor Cathy J. Schlund-Vials (University of Connecticut)
Paper submissions (6,000 – 7,000 words, inclusive of endnotes) due September 1, 2015
Since finding a permanent publishing home at UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center Press in 1971, Amerasia Journal has served as a scholarly hub for Asian American Studies. Slated for publication in Summer/Fall 2016, marking the journal’s forty-fifth anniversary, this special issue of Amerasia Journal brings together graduate student scholarship and faculty mentorship—two foundational components of the field of Asian American Studies. The issue is innovative in two ways: it is devoted exclusively to graduate student work, and it pairs graduate student authors with senior scholars who will provide guidance during the revision process. The guest editors will be responsible for selecting the papers to be sent out for review, and for connecting graduate student authors with appropriate senior scholars in the field. Such “intergenerational” collaborations represent an Amerasia “first,” and the editors are guided by the desire to increase both access for and representation of graduate students in the field’s leading interdisciplinary journal.
As a key frame, the editors in part return to the journal’s mission statement, which reflects the founding, revisionary tenets of a field born out of civil rights movements and international liberation struggles. The open nature of this call for submissions—which takes seriously the diversity of Asian American Studies scholarship—echoes the innovative, multidisciplinary work that has been a hallmark of Amerasia Journal. Understanding that Asian American Studies has grown considerably over the past four decades, the editors ask possible contributors to situate their work within and beyond the context of this originating mission and multifaceted vision.
Submission Guidelines and Review Process:
The guest editors, in consultation with the Amerasia Journal editors, reviewers, and potential mentors, will make the decisions on which submissions will be included in the special issue. The review process is as follows:
• Initial review of submitted papers by guest editors and Amerasia Journal editorial staff
• Papers approved by editors will undergo blind peer review
• Accepted projects will be assigned an appropriate mentor, who will work with the writer to develop and revise the submission; this process should begin and go through the last few months of 2015
• Revision of accepted papers and final submission for production
Please send correspondence and papers regarding the special issue to the following addresses. All correspondence should refer to “Amerasia Journal Intergenerational Collaborations” in the subject line.
Professor Yến Lê Espiritu: firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Cathy J. Schlund-Vials: email@example.com
Arnold Pan, Associate Editor, Amerasia Journal: firstname.lastname@example.org
View or download PDF version of the CFP: Intergenerational Collaborations
With its latest issue, Amerasia Journal explores how indigeneity is conceptualized within geographic boundaries and beyond into the diaspora. Guest edited by Greg Dvorak of Hitotsubashi University and Miyume Tanji of Australian National University, “Indigenous Asias” (Issue 41:1) engages local and global discussions of indigenous cultures and practices across the Pacific, including Hawai‘i, Japan, the Philippines, and Taiwan, that offer more complex understandings of cultural identity in today’s world. As the guest editors suggest, “when climate change and globalization threaten to overwhelm the entire world as we know it, indigenous peoples’ shared commitment to the environment, cultural heritage, and to the places for which they care so deeply sets a vital example for everyone.”
Guided by the guest editors’ call to examine “what exchanges exist between indigenous groups across regions” in the Asia Pacific, the contributions to this special issue consider how indigeneity defines, as well as complicates, ethnic identities in national as well as transnational frameworks. Addressing such concerns, Guy Beauregard offers insights on the life story of mixed-race writer/filmmaker Tony Coolidge and his attempts to identify with his indigenous Taiwanese lineage. Eliko Kosaka and Hueichu Chu, respectively, tackle how transpacific migrations have shaped Okinawan identity in literary texts such as Masao Yamashiro’s The Kibei Nisei and Sakiyama Tami’s “Island Confinement.”
Other contributors shed light on efforts of indigenous groups to assert a shared identity through political and cultural means. Ryan Masaaki Yokota interrogates Okinawan self-determination vis-à-vis United Nations protocols on indigenous rights, while Melisa Casumbal-Salazar points out the paradoxical way Philippine national culture treats indigeneity by attempting to celebrate the cultural production of once subjugated minority groups. Yu-wen Fu discusses the Taiwanese blockbuster film Seediq Bale and how it mobilized the political consciousness of the Seediq, one of the island’s recognized indigenous groups.
The issue also spotlights Peace Boat, a Japanese non-governmental organization that connects indigenous groups worldwide through educational voyages promoting peace and sustainability. Books reviewed in this issue include Yến Lê-Espiritu’s Body Counts: The Vietnam War and Militarized Refuge(es) and David Hanlon’s Making Micronesia: A Political Biography of Tosiwo Nakayama.
PDF of Amerasia Journal 41:1 Press Release
Copies of the issue can be ordered via phone, email, or mail. Each issue of Amerasia Journal costs $15.00 plus shipping/handling and applicable sales tax. Please contact the Center Press for detailed ordering information.
UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press
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Amerasia Journal is published three times a year: Spring, Summer/Fall, and Winter. Annual subscriptions for Amerasia Journal are $99.00 for individuals and $445.00 for libraries and other institutions. The annual subscription price includes access to the Amerasia Journal online database, with full-text versions of published issues dating back to 1971. Instructors interested in this issue for classroom use should contact the above email address to request a review copy.