California Growers

Dick Meister: Celebrating the Farmworkers' Filipino American Champion

|
(1)

By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former Labor Editor of SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. He's co-author of "A Long Time Coming: The Struggle To Unionize America's Farm Workers." Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

The birth date of Cesar Chavez, the late farm workers' leader, will be celebrated next month, and rightly so.  But it's well past time we also celebrated the life of probably the most important of the other leaders who played a major role in winning union rights for farm workers and otherwise helping them combat serious exploitation.

That's Larry Itliong. He died 35 years ago this month at age 63. Itliong got involved in the farm workers' struggle very early in life, not long after he arrived as a 15-year-old immigrant from the Philippine Islands. He was among some 31,000 Filipino men who came to California in the late 1920s. Read more »