Rob Bonta Introduces Bill to Include School Instruction on Filipino Americans’ Role in Farm Worker Movement

bontaAssemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) this week introduced AB 123, which would require school districts to teach students the contributions of Filipino Americans to the farm worker movement in California.

The goal of AB 123 is to supplement California’s rich farm worker history with the contributions of the Filipinos and the Filipino American community.

“As the first Filipino American elected to the California State Assembly, I am excited to have the opportunity to provide a voice for the Filipino American community — a community whose contributions have been historically underemphasized in the story of our state,” said Bonta. “While Filipino Americans comprise an ever-growing population in California, their contributions to the farm labor movement have been largely overlooked in public school curriculums.”

“The Filipino American population composes the second largest Asian population in California and continues to grow; yet the story of Filipinos and their crucial efforts to the farm worker movement is an untold part of California history.

“The names and historical significance of vastly influential leaders in the farm labor movement – such as Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz – are unknown to the general public. California residents need to learn about the pioneering efforts of Filipino farm laborers and leaders in instigating the 1965-1970 Delano Grape Strike, which helped launch the American farm labor movement. AB 123 would give students a more complete account of California’s farm labor movement and ensure that these important leaders are remembered by future generations of Californians.

“It is time to recognize the contributions of Filipinos to the history of our state and country by including them in the social sciences curriculum taught in California schools. AB 123 is a strong step toward this goal.”

Assemblymember Bonta’s personal history and involvement with the farm labor movement inspired him to author AB 123. Bonta was raised at the United Farm Workers headquarters in La Paz, California, where his parents organized farm workers alongside the leadership of the movement.

“My parents raised me to value public service and encouraged me to give back to the community. I am proud to be a product of California’s great public schools. However, I also recognize that we must always strive for progress and improvement. It is essential that we continue to push to make our education programs better, and our public schools stronger, for every child in California. AB 123 is a step in that direction. ”

To support or find out more information on AB 123, please contact An-Chi Tsou in Assemblymember Bonta’s office by phone at (916) 319-2018 or email at An-Chi.Tsou@asm.ca.gov.

Source: Assemblymember Bonta’s office

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