Acting Governor Eleni Kounalakis Issues a Proclamation Declaring Larry Itliong Day
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Governor’s Press Office: (916) 445-4571
SACRAMENTO – Acting Governor Eleni Kounalakis today issued a proclamation declaring October 25, 2023, as Larry Itliong Day.
The text of the proclamation and a copy can be found below.
During Filipino-American Heritage Month, we celebrate the life and legacy of trailblazing Filipino American labor leader and civil rights activist Larry Itliong. Born in 1913 in a province of the Philippines, Itliong emigrated to the United States as a teenager, where he began his lifetime of work to empower those without a voice.
While working as a laborer in the fisheries and canneries of Alaska, Itliong helped found the Alaska Cannery Workers Union. His efforts helped secure a contract that gave workers an eight-hour workday with overtime. Following his service in the U.S. Army during World War II, Itliong settled in Stockton, California.
Itliong continued his work in the labor movement, emerging as a leader in the Filipino-American community of respected elders known as Manongs. He was involved in organizing the asparagus strike of 1948 – the first major agricultural strike after World War II – and in 1956, Itliong founded the Filipino Farm Labor Union in Stockton. Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz, and the Manong leaders helped create the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee.
In the Spring of 1965, Itliong allied with grape workers in the Coachella Valley, fighting for increased pay. Following that victory, the Manongs voted in September 1965 to organize against grape growers in Delano who were exploiting workers toiling in their fields. The Manongs joined César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, and the National Farmworkers Association to launch a nationwide boycott of grapes, ultimately delivering the first farmworker union contracts.
In honor of his tireless activism and role as a father of the West Coast labor movement, Larry Itliong was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2021. Today, on the 110th anniversary of his birth, we reflect on Larry Itliong’s incredible work to change the history of farm labor and advance social justice. Let us all reflect on the Manongs’ timeless message of unity as we work to build a fairer and more equitable state for all Californians.
NOW THEREFORE, I, ELENI KOUNALAKIS, Acting Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim October 25, 2023, as “Larry Itliong Day.”
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 25th day of October 2023.