Bay Area middle school name to honor Filipino-American labor leaders

DECEMBER 2015—Historic union leaders Larry Itliong and Phillip Vera Cruz, who were instrumental in agricultural organizing including the Delano Grape Strike, will be honored Dec 18 as Alvarado Middle School in Union City changes its name to Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School.

Vera Cruz co-founded the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, which later merged with the National Farm Workers Association and became the United Farm Workers.

Itliong organized West Coast agricultural workers and has been heralded as “one of the fathers of the West Coast labor movement.”

The New Haven Unified School District will be the first in the country to recognize the efforts and contributions of Filipino-Americans by naming a school in their honor, according to a district news release.

The dedication ceremony to be held in the school’s gym at 31604 Alvarado Blvd., Union City will include performances from the school’s Ballet Folklórico dance group, choir and band, Alvarado Elementary School’s Anak Ng Bayan dance group and Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). Members of the Itliong and Vera Cruz families also are expected to attend the dedication.

  • The ceremony also will be broadcast live online here.