National Hispanic Heritage Month

I’m getting in on the tail end of National Hispanic Heritage Month, but I wanted to share with you a bit of Latino and Filipino history before it passes by completely. Many assume, because of the widespread influence of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, that the 1965 grape strike began with Mexican American field-hands. In truth, the strike began when Filipino laborers led by Larry Itliong laid down the tools and refused to work until higher wage demands were met. These workers tried to convince Chavez to join their strike, but Chavez didn’t think the timing was right. It was Chavez’s wife and Dolores Huerta who convinced him to put it to a vote of their separate and struggling union. The union members themselves voted unanimously to join with Filipinos and thus began the strike–which lasted five long years. Some wonder why Chavez wanted his own labor union when the Filipino union was already well-organized and supported by the AFL-CIO. It is a good question and you may find answers in STRIKE! The Farm Workers’ Fight for Their Rights. There is much more to discover about the farm workers’ fight for dignity and equality here:

imageSTRIKE!: The Farm Workers’ Fight for Their Rights (Calkins Creek Books)

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