Our Namesakes

History

Alvarado Middle School was renamed in 2015 to honor the activism, labor, and lives of Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz.  Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz are important figures in Filipino and American history. They are the rarely celebrated, much often forgotten leaders in the battle for farm workers rights and the movement for civil liberties. 


Philip Vera Cruz was a labor leader. In the 1960s, he was an organizer with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), which later merged with Cesar Chavez’s National Farm Workers Association (NFWA to form the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC)- giving respect to both unions. Vera Cruz went on to serve as a vice president with the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. 


Larry Itliong, founded the Farm Laborer’s Union (FLU) in Stockton, and became the President of AWOC before the heralded strike and boycott of 1965. He was a self-taught labor leader who organized protests in California and Alaska. Along with Vera Cruz, he convinced Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta’s predominantly Mexican/Latino NFWA to join the Grape Strike and Boycott of 1965 demanding better pay and benefits. Together, as UFWOC, Filipinos and Mexicans, along with many workers of other ethnic backgrounds, dug in for a long, hard fought battle. Itliong served as assistant director during his tenure with UFWOC. 


Eventually, the efforts of UFWOC brought an end to several unfair labor practices, and they also organized and participated in a 300 mile pilgrimage from Delano to Sacramento. After coming out victorious, the leadership of UFWOC changed its name to what it is now recognized as, the United Farm Workers (UFW) union.


information from bayaniart.com