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18/10/2013: FILIPINO MEMORIAL PROJECT (FMP) MURAL UNVEILING AT MILPITAS LIBRARY

Consul Leah Rodriguez and Milpitas Mayor Jose “Joe” Esteves admiring the mural honoring Filipino Farmworkers of California during its unveiling on October 12, 2013 (photo courtesy of Mr. Leo Logarta)

In line with the Filipino American History month this October, the ceremonial unveiling of the Filipino Memorial Project (FMP) mural commemorating Filipino American farmworker history was held on Saturday, October 12 2013 at the Milpitas Library Auditorium in Milpitas, California.

The event was attended by Consul Leah Victoria C. Rodriguez and staff members Juancho Rillo, Hermenigilda Cariño and Leonidas Peter Logarta of the Philippine Consulate General, San Francisco.

Program highlights included speakers from the Santa Clara Library District Joint Powers Authority Board Members, Milpitas Mayor Jose Estevez, State of California Assembly members Bob Wieckowski and representative of Mr. Rob Bonta, Santa Clara County Supervisors Dave Cortese and Cindy Chavez, Union City Councilmember Pat Gacoscos, County Board of Education Trustee, Darcie Green, Cesar Chavez Family Vision, Rudy Chavez Medina, Filipino Memorial Project, Melissa-Ann Nievera-Lozano, one of the mural’s key historic figure Ms. Dolores Huerta, testimonial from the son of Mr. Larry Itliong, San Jose State students, Bay Area community members and local artists who contributed to the production of the mural.

Filipino cultural performances, cuisine and entertainment accompanied the unveiling.

Comprised of scholars, historians and community members at San Jose State University, the Filipino Memorial Project (FMP) was created to acknowledge the long and arduous history, dating from the early 1900s, of the efforts of the Filipino community leaders to organize Filipino American labor unions that brought about positive change for future generations.

The FMP mural concept began five years ago in recognition of the collective efforts and contributions of Filipino American farm workers in California’s Labor Movement. The mural features key historic figures Larry Dulay Itliong, Vera Cruz, Andy Imutan, Ben Hines, Pete Velasco, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, and depicts the Delano Grape Strike in 1965, when more than 1,500 predominantly Filipino farm workers walked off the grape fields in Delano, California. Filipino Union leader Larry Itliong, of the Agricultural Workers Organization Committee (AWOC), and Mexican American farm workers organizers, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, representing the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), joined forces to organize the protest, which laid the foundation for future labor groups’ fight for higher wages, better working conditions and medical benefits.

At the awarding of the Plaque of Appreciation to FMP organizers, Santa Clara County Supervisor  Dave Cortese stated, “the mural profoundly depicts the labor movement impact on social justice, commitment and pride not only of Filipinos but to all Americans.”

The 7 x 4 feet acrylic on canvas mural hangs on the walls of the Teen Homework Center at the 2nd Floor of Milpitas Library.